Letters to the Editor

‘Tree socks’ reflect our changing community

The beauty of art is that its value is never discriminating. At best, art changes people – the way they perceive themselves, others and the world around them. At the very least, art helps people decide what they do and do not like: this painting, that kind of dance or opera all together.

So is the case with Artificial Light, a public art installation located in Redmond’s historic Anderson Park. With more than 50 trees wrapped in acrylic “tree socks” knit by artist Suzanne Tidwell, the impact is illuminating for all people. Some who have seen the colorful display say they see trees and history differently. Others report a heightened awareness of the park’s ecosystem, raising concerns about perceived damage to trees, wildlife and the long term health of the park.

Interestingly, the value of Tidwell’s art for everyone is a renewed interest in the park and its legacy. And this is the artist’s intention: to highlight the pioneering history of the park during this, our centennial celebration. And the resulting conversation about the appropriateness of art in a space designated for nature fulfills the goal of the first ever Redmond Art Season: Take Root, Branch Out.

Because at the heart of the current debate about the value of “tree socks” is the changing dynamics of our city. Redmond took root at Anderson Park as a logging and farming town. We have since branched out into a global city. This raises a number of questions for us all: What does nature mean to us now? Are Anderson Park and its inhabitants really “natural?” And how does environmental stewardship look in our increasingly urban landscape?

Tidwell’s work in no way harms trees or animals. Rather, it is our view that Artificial Light is creating a space for all of us to reconsider our relationship to Redmond’s changing environment and the roles art and creative thinking can play over the next 100 years. In this way, Artificial Light could be seen as more pioneer than cause for concern.

Our research suggests there are no signs that there will be any damage to the trees or animals of Anderson Park. Artificial Light is creating a space for all of us to reconsider our relationship to Redmond’s changing environment and the roles art and creative thinking can play over the next 100 years.

In this way, Artificial Light could be seen as more pioneer than cause for concern. Thank you to those of you who have opened up the door for this conversation, it takes all of us working together to nurture this place we call home.

Clint McCune, Chairperson, Redmond Arts Commission

Tina Sarin, Chairperson, Redmond Parks and Trail Commission

 

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