TREE/CYCLE

AN EXPLORATION OF ART & DESIGN INSPIRED BY ARKANSAS TREES

It has long been thought science and art are disparate fields, requiring different skills, occupying opposite sides of the brain. However, recent studies have found that the two are more related than anyone ever thought, and that children can learn math and science concepts through artistic expression. Tree/Cycle demonstrates the importance of fostering creativity in our children, so they are better equipped to become successful adults grounded in their own abilities and talents.

Artist workshops throughout the exhibit demonstrate the scientific principles found in creating works of art.

Champion Trees by Linda Palmer

Featuring Champion Trees by Linda Palmer

The champion tree project began in 2007 when she viewed the list of Arkansas’ largest examples of each species of tree, determined by the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Traveling more than 20,000 miles to photograph trees, Palmer has created over 35 large scale portraits of champion trees. The traveling exhibit of the same name has been exhibited in 29 venues throughout Arkansas.

Collecting oral histories and keeping a journal of her adventures inspired Palmer to envision her first book and formed the basis for AETN’s award-winning documentary, “Champion Trees.” In 2022, Linda received the Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, an annual recognition presented by the Arkansas Arts Council to honor individuals and organizations for significant contributions to the arts in Arkansas.

Linda grew up in eastern Oklahoma, playing in the woods in front of her farmhouse and under a large oak tree on the playground. These childhood experiences inspired her interest in trees, and as a professional artist, she often chooses to draw and paint them. Palmer is one of the few artists, and the only one in Arkansas, who has created a series of art works based on individual, recognizable, documented trees such as the Arkansas champion trees.

Turned Wood by Gene Sparling

With his affinity to nature, it is no wonder that when Sparling began his career as an artist, this medium would be tied to the natural world. He began learning to work with wood as a child, from his father, and has continued learning and working with wood, throughout his life. Through his work, Sparling seeks to highlight the unique beauty of each piece while creating vessels, sculptures, and furniture that complement their natural roots. Sparling’s work has been exhibited at the Arkansas Craft Guild in the Ozark Folk Center, in Mountain View, Arkansas, as well as galleries in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Hot Springs, Bentonville, and Denton, TX.

Gene Sparling was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and spent his childhood in Springfield, Missouri. As a young man, he established a home in the Ouachita Mountains, just south of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Throughout his life, he has sought out wilderness, traveling, backpacking, horse packing, and kayaking through wild landscapes, always returning to the woods of his home in the Ouachitas. With great concern for remaining wild places, Sparling has served as a voice for wildlife and habitat conservation throughout the country.

Turned Wood by Gene Sparling
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