Patrick Dougherty, Stickwork


With a bevy of volunteers, from Feb. 1-19 sculptor Patrick Dougherty (Chapel Hill, NC) designed and built a site specific sculpture out of Crepe Myrtle and Elm limbs. Titled Fancy Free, the artist was inspired to create a sculpture with a jogging, casual footprint that works in juxtaposition to the angular, linear quality of the Appleton’s building, windows and reflecting pool. He also drew inspiration from Marion County’s status as “Horse Capital of the World,” creating his series of huts to resemble the natural, easy gait of a horse, with the hut closest to the museum boasting a wild mane. Fancy Free will remain a part of the outdoor Sculpture Walk and Garden for approximately two years, until it naturally decomposes.

To watch a video on the building of Fancy Free, click here.

Born in Oklahoma in 1945, Dougherty was raised in North Carolina. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina in 1967 and an M.A. in Hospital and Health Administration from the University of Iowa in 1969. Later, he returned to the University of North Carolina to study art history and sculpture.

Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, Patrick began to learn more about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. In 1982 his first work, Maple Body Wrap, was included in the North Carolina Biennial Artists’ Exhibition. In the following year, he had his first one-person show entitled, Waitin’ It Out in Maple at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His work quickly evolved from single pieces on conventional pedestals to monumental scale environmental works, which required saplings by the truckloads.

Over the last 30 years, he built over 260 of these works, and has become internationally acclaimed. His sculptures have been seen worldwide – from Scotland to Japan to Brussels, and all over the United States. He has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Factor Prize for Southern Art, North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship, Japan-US Creative Arts Fellowship and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. To see more of Dougherty’s sculptures visit his web site.


This project was sponsored in part by:


Bill and Linda Potter
Polly Carter
Bent Oak Farm
On Top of the World Communities
Marion Cultural Alliance
National Endowment for the Arts
Family Times Magazine


Family Times

NEA MCA