Stickwork installation underway at Walton Arts Center

Flint Richter weaves sticks and sapling branches together atop a scaffolding on the Walton Arts Center plaza Tuesday afternoon.

Photos: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

There’s something growing in front of the Walton Arts Center. Something big.

A large-scale sculpture from “stickwork” artist Patrick Dougherty is under construction on the arts center’s main plaza.

The work was commissioned by the Walton Arts Center as part of this year’s Artosphere Festival and is being created by Dougherty and several local volunteers.

Patrick Dougherty (bottom) and Flint Richter work on the sculpture Tuesday afternoon.

Photo: Todd Gill

Dougherty, who arrived last week for an 19-day residency in Fayetteville, is well-known for his installations which are crafted from saplings harvested from wooded areas that are overgrown or generally too densely forested to survive.

“Sticks are something we all have in common,” Doughtery said of his work. “Everybody knows sticks – the twigs and branches picked up on grandfather’s farm; the branches woven in grandmother’s basket. Somewhere threaded in all the public mass is a common thread, and that thread is the human spirit.”

A carpenter by trade, Dougherty began his installation work after studying primitive building techniques using tree saplings as construction materials in the 1980s. Thirty years later, he has completed over 200 works in places all over the world.

Flint Richter, who is heading up local volunteer efforts, said the installation should be complete by May 28, and will remain on display indefinitely.

“The plan is to leave it up as long as we can,” said Richter. “It will be built to last for several years.”

For more information about Dougherty’s work, visit

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