Top 5 Eco-Friendly Public Sculptures

by Sarah Baird


Across the United States, 2013 has been a major year for public art installations with a larger mission. These works of art aim to educate the public using beautiful, intricate sculpture about key issues impacting our environments and community. 

New Dream's top five come from across the country and tackle the issues of consumption, deforestation, sharing, and more in extraordinarily innovative ways:

The Blue Trees Project (Houston, TX)

Driving along the highway in Houston, it’s impossible not to do a double take when you notice that—why, yes!—some clusters of trees are sporting blue trunks. No, it’s not a rare, Texas-only species: it’s a creative public art installation to call attention to the issue of deforestation and its global impact by artist Konstantin Dimopoulos. Dimopoulos colored the trunks with biologically-safe, water-based ultramarine mineral pigments in an effort to create even greater awareness of native trees and the need to protect them in cases of severe weather.

Plant Green Ideas (Chicago, IL) 

Want to grab someone’s attention? The ingenious folks at Plant Green Ideas have succeeded in doing just that through their new public art installation in downtown Chicago. All along Michigan Avenue, six-and-a-half feet tall sculptures, crafted from recycled concrete and with self-watering foliage hair-dos, greet passersby and offer tips on how to live more eco-friendly lifestyles.

Reading Nest (Cleveland, OH)

A giant bird’s nest that seems as light as twigs can be seen outside of the Cleveland Public Library, where Mark Reigelman has created a reading nest using 10,000 discarded wooden palette boards. The interactive sculpture, which Reigelman painted gold, is a tribute to the tree of enlightenment, the sharing of knowledge, and community.

Cluster (Aberdeen, SD) 

The Miami-based duo Guerra de la Paz is known for their breathtaking sculptures that focus on the topics of unnecessary waste, consumption, and the damage it causes to the environment. While their work to date has largely used discarded clothing as a means of creating art—including a dramatic, cascading waterfall of clothing dripping down over the edges of the African Cultural Arts Center in Miami—their latest installation uses plastic bottles and bottle caps to send a message about over-consumption and the damaging effects on the environment.

EcoSculpt (Cincinnati, OH)

Cincinnati each year hosts its EcoSculpt competition, which encourages artists to create sculptures out of recycled materials in the recently renovated Washington Park. This year’s winning sculpture, Re-Tired Roadside Attractions, is a menagerie of larger-than-life animals made out of tire debris from semi-trucks collected along the local highways of Kentucky and Ohio.