Living On

Ann Prusha wanted to show the far-reaching value of one tree.

So, when a 106-foot maple — estimated to be 175 years old — was set for a date with the chainsaw late last year, the Geauga Council for Arts & Culture board member devised a unique way to celebrate the county's 2006 bicentennial. Prusha invited artists, hobbyists and students to craft pieces of art from the felled tree for a countywide project dubbed InfiniTree.

"During its life, it provided shade, maple products, beauty and a harbor to animals," Prusha says. "Now, in its afterlife, it will continue to give, with human help, a diverse array of beautiful and useful items. The idea is to show that this tree will live on."

At press time, more than 70 people had committed to making art, including an electric guitar, drum set, woodcarvings, jewelry, paintings, furniture, cabinets and paper, from the tree. The pieces will be on display April 8, 2006, through June 23, 2006, at the West Woods Nature Center (9645 Kinsman Road, Novelty). The creations will then be auctioned with proceeds benefiting the artists, Geauga Park District and GCAC.

But the InfiniTree will also live beyond the crafted pieces. Seedlings from the tree will be planted at the West Woods Nature Center at the projects' concluding ceremony and given to participants to plant in other places, as well.

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