Patrick Dougherty ‘The Stickman’ returns to McKee

McKee Botanical Garden is thrilled to announce that internationally acclaimed landscape artist Patrick Dougherty, the “Stickman,” will return to McKee to create another hand-crafted masterpiece made exclusively for the Garden.

In January 2016, Patrick and a team of volunteers constructed The Royals over a three-week period.  The sculpture featured three tall towers nestled among the stately palms in the Royal Palm Grove. The Royals graced the Garden for two and a half years until succumbing to the weather and nature’s elements.

In January 2020, Patrick Dougherty will once again design a one-of-a-kind sculpture woven from willow saplings harvested from a farm in upstate New York.  A team of McKee volunteers will work alongside Patrick to construct what begins as a figment of his imagination and evolves into a masterpiece for all to enjoy.

Special thanks to Presenting Sponsor, a Friend of McKee, and Hotel Sponsor, Star Suites.

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, sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art. 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 thirty years, he has built over 250 of these works, and became internationally acclaimed. His sculpture has 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. Princeton Architectural Press published a major book about Patrick and his work in 2009.

Patrick is extremely conscientious about environmental stewardship and hopes that his work will inspire others to care as well. No trees are killed outright in creating one of his sculptures. The saplings he uses are cut in such a way that they will all regrow, much as they would after pruning. The sticks for the sculpture come from a willow farm where the stumps will regrow again and again to reproduce more saplings. When Patrick harvests in the wild, it is always done in areas where the sticks would be cut anyway, such as under power lines or along highway right of ways; sometimes where a forest needs to be thinned because the undergrowth is too thick and not all the small trees can survive that way.

Hours:  Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday Noon – 5 pm (last admission ticket sold at 4 pm).  The Garden is closed on Mondays and major holidays.

Admission:  $15 Adults, $13 Seniors (65+)/Youth (13-17), $10 Children (2-12).  McKee members and children under 2 free.

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