Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

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Patrick Dougherty

New Stickwork Sculpture by Patrick Dougherty
Loop de Loop

Videos by Dave Tavani

For three weeks in March 2019, artist Patrick Dougherty worked with Arboretum staff and volunteers to create a whimsical, site-specific sculpture in the Butcher Sculpture Garden.

The piece, named Loop de Loop, is reminiscent of a roller coaster with its numerous spirals and switchbacks. The top of the sculpture is bound together with sticks wound like pieces of twine, connecting nearly a dozen rooms below. One gallery blends into the next through a maze of light-filled tunnels.

The sculpture was created using hundreds of willow sticks and saplings including purple willow (Salix purpurea) and Miyabe willow (Salix miyabeana) from upstate New York. The piece will remain in place for as long as it lasts in the natural environment, anticipated to be two years.

About the Artist and Installation

Patrick Dougherty combines his love of nature with his skills as a carpenter. Utilizing primitive techniques of building, Patrick uses tree saplings as construction materials, recognizing them as a renewable resource to which everyone can relate.

During his career, Patrick has created almost 300 large-scale, temporary sculptures at gardens, universities, and museums throughout the world.

To learn more, visit

Installation: March 12-29, 2019
Exhibit Duration: Patrick Dougherty’s original sculptures are intended to be temporary. They typically last for one to two years depending on the severity of the weather.

Located in the sculpture garden. Click here for a Visitor Map.

Videos by Dave Tavani

Patrick Dougherty’s Newest Stickwork Now on Exhibit

Back by popular demand—renowned artist Patrick Dougherty returned to the Morris Arboretum for his third visit in March, to create one of his signature stickwork sculptures. Dougherty’s first exhibit for the Arboretum, Summer Palace, debuted in 2009, followed by Waltz in the Woods in 2015. Once his sculptures are erected, they remain in the garden for approximately one to two years, or as long as they last in the natural elements. Dougherty’s newest creation is named Loop de Loop and resides in the Madeleine K. Butcher Sculpture Garden, which has perfect site lines to be seen from many points of the garden.

“The public loves the enormous scale of Patrick’s work, which is typically 20 feet high, combined with the intimacy of being able to enter the woven structures to peek out through the windows and openings from inside,” says Susan Crane, Morris Arboretum’s Director of Marketing. “Loop de Loop is a kids’ hide-and-seek wonderland with about a dozen rooms to explore.”

“Patrick’s structures have no nails or hardware that hold them together aside from the strength of the woven sticks and branches,” says Crane. “For a public garden to have such a natural and dramatic piece of art is so special.”

About the Materials: Willows

A Waltz in the Woods was created from willow saplings. Below are the specific types.

For the Main Towers:
Salix purpurea ‘Fish Creek’ – Fish creekpurple willow, used for the vast majority of the piece.
Zelkova serrata – Japanese zelkova, used as structural pieces.

For Dome Embellishments:
Salix alba 'Britzensis' – Britz white willow
Salix chaenomeloides - willow
Salix gracilistylavar. melanostachys – black bigcatkin willow


Patrick Dougherty Press

See Patrick Dougherty featured in Penn Today »

See Patrick Dougherty featured in UWISHUNU Philadelphia »

See Patrick Dougherty featured in PhillyVoice »

Learn more about the work of Patrick Dougherty at

This exhibit is supported in part by the Madeleine K. Butcher Fine Arts Endowment.

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Alerts & Updates

COVID-19 Response

In response to the unprecedented public health crisis related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Morris Arboretum will close to the public as of March 14, 2020 until the University of Pennsylvania feels that is it safe to re-open. Learn more about the Univerisity's response on the University of Pennsylvania’s dedicated Coronavirus website: Please know that this decision was made after careful deliberation and that our priority is to do all we can to ensure the safety and well being of our staff, volunteers, and visitors. Information pertaining to public health is rapidly evolving and, as such, it is not yet known when we will reopen. We will be vigilant in our efforts to keep our website up-to-date and we will communicate directly to members and class registrants via email with the latest details.

The following information is provided in anticipation of some of the questions you may have relative to the following categories:

Individuals who have registered for a class
It is our intention to provide a refund to individuals who have registered for a class that occurs during this temporary closure. We are working as quickly as possible to process your refunds in the manner in which you paid. If you have questions, please contact

Annual Membership
We appreciate your patience at this time. We know that early spring is the most natural time to come out to the Arboretum for a walk in the gardens to enjoy the fresh air, but maintaining public health must be our priority. We look forward to seeing you in the gardens just as soon as we are reassured that it is safe for all of our visitors to return. We will keep you updated on any developments, but in the meantime, if you have any questions about your membership, please contact

Planned Events
Any individuals that have planned events will receive outreach directly from a staff member to discuss your options.

We will continue to update the community as soon as information is available and is consistent with the evolution of this dynamic situation. Questions may be directed to

We appreciate your understanding during these challenging times and we thank you for your support. Please stay connected with us through Facebook, Instagram, and our website.

Center for Disease Control (CDC):
University of Pennsylvania’s dedicated Coronavirus website:

Unfortunately, Out on a Limb will be closed on Wednesday, January 29th through Friday, January 31, 2020 due to scheduled maintenance.

The Garden Railway will not be operational from 2:00 PM Friday (July 19) through the weekend (July 20-21). The trains will open for normal operation on Monday, July 22nd. Our Train Master reported that the trains will not operate in the excessive heat, citing electrical, track and rolling stock failures.

The Arboretum is open as usual. Click here for hours.

Garden Railway trains are not running Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th due to inclement weather.

Please note: The Rose Garden is closed for maintenance every Thursday morning until noon.

Weather conditions may limit garden access to certain features even if the garden is open – please check the web site or call (215) 247-5777 for updates before visiting. Our visitors’ safety in the garden is our top priority. Therefore when inclement weather is predicted, we will make decisions about closing the garden accordingly.