An artist transforms a tree trunk into a “playful sculpture”
A Mississippi chainsaw artist has transformed a tree trunk on Museum Drive into a playful sculpture of an owl and a bear, each sitting on a stack of books, next to a rocket ready to take off.
“It’s something beautiful and unique created by a fellow Mississippi who belongs to the Craftsmen Guild of Mississippi,” said Susan Garrard, president and CEO of the Mississippi Children’s Museum. “I had a lot of positive responses.”
The sculpture stands south of the entrance to the Children’s Museum, which is located in LeFleur’s Bluff State Park along with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.
Tim Temple, vice president of Hemphill Construction Co., saw the tree trunk while checking out the Museum Drive improvement project run by Hemphill. He suggested the trunk be made into a sculpture, just like many damaged or dead trees on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, said Marcy Scoggins, spokeswoman for the Department of Finance and Administration. Mississippi.
The design is inspired by the natural world and the yearning of Mississippi children to reach for the stars, seek knowledge and wisdom, and enjoy adventure, Garrard said.
Using a chainsaw and then smaller tools to produce the finer details, Dayton Scoggins, a member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, spent about a week carving the trunk.
Dayton Scoggins operates the family business Artistry in Wood with his wife, Michelle, and is known nationwide for his chainsaw carving skills.
He built scaffolding around the trunk and began working on top, Garrard said, letting the size of the trunk and its condition dictate the finished product.
Lori Nesbitt, senior graphic designer at the Children’s Museum, provided sketches at the request of Dayton Scoggins. “It was a collaborative effort,” Garrard said.
The finished sculpture has the potential to be seen by approximately 500,000 visitors per year.
Before the global COVID-19 pandemic hit, approximately 500,000 people visited the LeFleur Museum District, which includes the Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Museum of Agriculture and Forestry of Mississippi.
Reconstruction of part of Museum Boulevard, which faces the Children’s Museum and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, is expected to be completed by mid-January, Marcy Scoggins said.
“They have additional paving and tracing work to complete,” she said.
Hemphill Construction is the general contractor for the project, which extends from the intersection with Riverside Drive to the end of the four-lane boulevard section. It includes the laying of a conduit for Entergy and the installation of a new water main, as well as the resurfacing of the road.
The $1.9 million project is funded by the Capitol Complex Improvement District. The sculpture represented an expense of $7,500 covered by the project.
Entergy plans to install additional new lighting along Museum Boulevard after the first of the year as part of an Entergy project.