NEWARK, Ohio — The Dawes Arboretum is home to a collection of trees and plants, and now, Avian Avatars.
Nature meets art for the larger-than-life exhibit created by Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, better known as The Myth Makers.
“We call ourselves the Myth Makers because we make monumental sculptures out of natural materials that tell a story about a place,” said Dodson.
Together, they crafted the largest exhibit ever shown at Dawes. The exhibit features six sculptures as tall as 20 feet, which honor birds and people who have impacted The Buckeye State.
The collection includes two cardinals to represent Ohio's state bird, which celebrates relationships and diversity, as well as a peacock to honor one of the arboretum’s co-founders.
“The great owl sits on a hillside and overlooks the Dawes scientific tree areas,” said Moerlein. “It represents our legacy of unseeded lands from the native Americans.”
Each of the six sculptures contains bamboo and other sustainable materials. Some pieces have interactive elements, such as seating and walk-through tunnels.
“It’s something that brings beauty and ideas to our life,” said Moerlein. “I think that’s what art is. It’s the magic thing that says an intelligent being has touched this space.”
The Myth Makers said their sculptures usually last three to five years before being composted back to nature. Their latest exhibit will be on display at the Dawes through 2023.