Spenard’s Biodegradable “Woodfalls” Redefines Public Art in Anchorage

Woodfalls by Sheila Wyne

One crisp November afternoon, Spenard denizens and Anchorage officials came together for the unveiling of “Woodfalls,” a biodegradable public art piece installed in Old Hermit Park.

Created by Spenard artist Sheila Wyne, “Woodfalls” is a temporary sculptural installation made from trees that were blown down during a fierce windstorm of the fall of 2013. While the installation remains, it preserves the memory of a natural event that took out electrical power for Spenard’s residents and dammed the nearby Fish Creek.

“Woodfalls” represents one of the first examples of “Earthwork” or “Land Art” in Anchorage. Emerging from the creativity of artists in the mid-2oth century, Earthworks are environmental art pieces, made from natural materials that often intentionally blend into nature or even terraform their surroundings. As “Woodfalls” was made from decaying logs, the piece was intentionally created to continue its natural course and decompose into the forest.

As an ephemeral art installation, “Woodfalls” blazes a new trail for the future of public art supported by the Municipality of Anchorage.

“Woodfalls” is the result of a successful public-private partnership (and the hard work and creativity of artist of Sheila Wyne.) The installation was privately underwritten by the artist with support from Rasmuson Foundation and an Anchorage Park Foundation Challenge grant in 2013. It was finally given a home by the Municipality of Anchorage through Anchorage Parks and Recreation.

See John Aronno’s eloquent article on the installation and opening in the Anchorage Press, and check out KTVA’s coverage of the event for a taste of the sounds and sights at the opening of “Woodfalls” here: