New sculptures on display at UW-Madison Arboretum honor plants

MADISON, Wis. — A new sculpture series was unveiled Friday at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.

The series, called “Canopy Understories,” was made by Madison-based artists Laura Richards and William Grant Turnbill, according to a news release from the Madison Public Art Project, which commissioned the works.

One display is made of three Samara Flight sculptures that recreate the winged seed pods from the sugar maple tree. The other, which will be installed later this month, pays homage to the Mayapple.

Both are made of lightweight materials used by the aviation industry and held up by a metallic cable and hardware normally used for rock climbing.

“Some people call these helicopters. These are seed pods that fall from our state tree, the sugar maple,” the Madison Public Art Project’s president, Jillian Talarczyk, said. “They represent color in motion through art, so these sculptures highlight that process.”

The works will be on display through April 2023.