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New downtown Tulsa art made entirely of sticks

Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 19:32:05-04

TULSA -- An-eye catching piece of art is under construction in downtown Tulsa. 

The piece is made entirely of sticks that were collected in Green Country. 

Artist Patrick Dougherty was born in Oklahoma City before moving to Perry. He said he started using sticks for sculptures early on in his career.

"I kind of had to figure out what birds and beavers already knew and that you can make these things stay together without tying because they want to tangle with each other," Dougherty said. "If you push sticks close together, they tangle up pretty easily." 

With the help of volunteers and local organizations, Dougherty collected sticks along the Arkansas River. He said people are always clearing land and it gives him free material to work with. 

"We never have enough," Dougherty said. "We need a tractor trailer load of sticks and of course as we are gathering, people get tired and they go 'Oh, you won't need that many,' but we do."

His work is featured in Sweden, Korea, Denmark, England, Australia and across the U.S.

With each piece he builds comes a unique vision. For Tulsa, he said the Centennial Park reminded him of the Zen Gardens. 

"We had the idea of making these big pieces that looked kind of like islands that are kind of floating in a sea of green," Dougherty said.

He is calling it the Prairie Schooner. 

After he came up with the inspiration, he laid out extension cords and painted a blueprint. From there, he drilled holes into the ground and put some bigger trees in the holes to anchor the piece. 

Dougherty said his works resonates with people because of the simple material he uses to construct it. 

"They imagine their first kiss in the woods. maybe when they played in the woods as children or a bird's nest they've seen or some other kind of opportunity and they had to go out and have a few minutes in the natural world," Dougherty said. 

He said his artwork usually lasts about two years. 

Thursday, there will be a stick breaking ceremony, instead of a ribbon cutting, at Centennial Park. 

The art will be open to the public later this week.

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