Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty

Visit the artist’s Northeast Ohio debut.

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Immerse yourself in twisting mazes, towering castles, and hedges full of faces—all completely made from willow sticks and branches.

Patrick Dougherty’s art been featured in more than 300 locations around the world, from Scotland to Japan to Brussels. His sculptures are finally making their debut in Northeast Ohio, and you’ll only find them at the Holden Arboretum.

Dougherty and his son began building the structures on August 10, 2020. Throughout that month, they worked with volunteers to complete the intensive creative project, using only natural materials. Their work will be on view at the arboretum for at least one year, or until it naturally deteriorates.

Stickwork is being presented by support from Fleet Response and Key Private Bank. Additional support has been provided by Lake Health.

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About Patrick Dougherty

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-some years, he has built over 300 of these works, and become internationally acclaimed.

Thirty-eight of these works are collected in “Stickwork,” a monograph-memoir, published by Princeton Architectural Press. He also is the subject of a film documentary called “Bending Sticks.” Dougherty 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. More information is available at

Check out Patrick Dougherty in the News:

The New York Times Article: Building with Sticks and Stones

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