ART1301 Columbia Southern University Public Sculpture Art Research Paper For this assignment, you will select a public sculpture that interests you. Public

ART1301 Columbia Southern University Public Sculpture Art Research Paper For this assignment, you will select a public sculpture that interests you. Public sculptures include any work displayed within public domain, with the goal of being accessible to everyone, outside of a museum or building. Write an essay about an outdoor sculpture that you have seen in person. If you are unable to photograph a local sculpture, please locate one from your community or neighboring city using the Internet and be sure to visit it. You must be sure to choose a sculpture that you have seen in person so that you can give your description of what you felt when you experienced it. Take a photograph of the sculpture and include it with this essay. If you are unable to take a photograph, locate one from the Internet. Include the photograph of the artwork on the fourth page by pasting the image into a Word document along with your written essay. Address the following points in your essay: 1. Title, artist, and location of the artwork. 2. How would you describe the artwork? 3. Why it is there, and what (or who) does it represent? 4. What was the source of the funding for this artwork? 5. How did you feel about it the first time you saw it? 6. Do you feel the same about it now? Formatting: Title page (1 page) Written Essay (2 pages) Image(s) (1 page) References (1 page) Use Times New Roman 12- point font. Double space all lines, and indent the first line of each paragraph. Your title page should be correctly formatted with a Running Head and page number listed in the Header area. Include your title, name, and school centered on the title page. Your written essay should contain at least three paragraphs (including an introductory and conclusion). Your last page will have the word References centered at the top. All sources used, including the textbook, must be cited and included on the reference page. When you use a statement from a source, you need to credit the source in this format: (last name of author (s), year) at the end of the sentence before the period. Running head: TREE SPIRITS OF ST. SIMONS ISLAND
Tree Spirits of St. Simons Island
Student Name
Columbia Southern University
Tree Spirits of St. Simons Island
If you have ever been to southeast Georgia along the coast, you will immediately notice
the trees. Large majestic oaks, some of them dating back hundreds of years, can be found at
every turn: on streets, in the middle of streets, and in hundreds of private yards. These trees are
almost synonymous with the South. The Spanish moss that drips from their enormous and
invasive limbs gives everything a mystical and ghostly quality, particuliarly when the fog rolls in
off the ocean. It is in this location that artist Keith Jennings has carved dozens of sculputres into
ancient water oaks.
Jennings began his sculpting career in his backyard out of boredom in the early 1980s
(Gallivance, 2012). Using just a few simple hand tools, he was able to create a facial image, both
figurative and respresentational, that was recognizably human yet spritlike in essence. Of the
twenty-odd sculptures that can be found on St. Simons Island and on the mainland, most reside
on private property and were commissioned by the property owners. The handful of permanent
public sculptures that exist were donated by the artist himself.
Each sculpture is organic to its specific tree: embedded in emerging from or nestled into
it naturally. The artist uses the natural repetition of the tree’s shape and natural lighting to create
depth and to bring each face to life. The craggly, worn suface of the trees gives the faces an
ancient and wise look. I think it is interesting that the artwork “grows” with the tree. These
nature sculptures will change while the tree changes. The faces really are part of the tree. Most of
these works are between one and two feet in diameter. While, legend has it that the faces are
meant to memorialize the countless faces of sailors lost at sea, the artist argues otherwise: “I
don’t have that much to do with it. The wood speaks to you, ya know?” (Pinar, 2013, para. 2).
Of the series, there is only one female, The Lady of Belle Point. Unlike her brothers, she
is over two feet long and less than 10 inches wide. She resides in the yard of a female ship
captain. The willowy Lady has a very siren-like quality and reminds me of Botticelli’s Birth of
Venus (Bottecelli, 1480).
People do not necessarily come from all over to see the tree spirits. However, when
people come to southeast Georgia, they will seek them out. Once you see one, you find yourself
anxious to see another, and it is almost like a treasure hunt to discover a new one. I was
mesmerized by these sculptures when I first saw them. Each one is sculpted to fit the specific
characteristics present in the tree, and each sculpture is unique. Every time I see them, I see more
intricacies in the details and imagine more about the spirit that is represented. I feel that each one
takes on its own story. The sculptures inspire my imagination, and I can almost imagine the
lives these Tree Spirits have had.
Unfortunately, there is no public document that details and catalogs all of the Tree
Spirits. Their titles are not posted, and their dates are left unpublished. Jennings does not have a
Facebook page of all of his artwork, and the artist’s website has been down for well over six
months according to the Golden Isles Visitor Center (2013). Rumor has it that Jennings will be
back in St. Simons sometime in the coming months—hopefully to add another spirit to one of
our majestic oaks. I hope one day someone will catalog all of the spirits and keep track of the
changes that take place while the trees grow. It would be interesting to see how the artwork
changes with the life of the tree. Sometimes an artist’s work is memorialized after some time. I
am not sure that anyone would really be able to memorialize Jenning’s work without harming the
trees. Also, if we were to cut off the piece of the tree that is home to the sculpture, it might
change the idea of the Tree Spirit. To me, the Tree Spirits will be ever present and changing.
(Jennings, n.d.-d)
(Jennings, n.d.-c)
(Jennings, n.d.-e)
(Jennings, n.d.-a)
(Jennings, n.d.-b)
Botticelli, S. (1480). Birth of Venus [Tempera on canvas]. Retrieved from
Golden Isles Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. (2013). The tree spirits of St. Simons Island.
Retrieved from
Jennings, K. (n.d.-a). The lady of Belle Point [Carved Water Oak]. Retrieved from
Tree Spirits of St. Simons Island: The Other Woman
Jennings, K. (n.d.-b). Untitled tree spirit 1 [Carved Water Oak ]. Retrieved from
Tree Spirits of St. Simons Island: The Search Continues
Jennings, K. (n.d.-c). Untitled tree spirit 2 [Carved Water Oak ]. Retrieved from
Tree Spirits of St. Simons Island: The Search Continues
Jennings, K. (n.d.-d). Untitled tree spirit 3 [Carved Water Oak ]. Retrieved from
Tree Spirits of St. Simons Island: The Search Continues
Jennings, K. (n.d.-e). Untitled tree spirit 4 [Carved Water Oak ]. Retrieved from
Tree Spirits of St. Simons Island: The Search Continues
Pinar. (2013). Sculptor releases mysterious spirits already in trees. Retrieved from

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