Witness Tree

Trees are wisdom keepers. They stand in a single place on the earth’s surface and faithfully witness the unfolding of time. Like people, trees observe their surroundings, root where welcomed, reach toward nourishment, and hold close where limited. They form scar tissue when wounded and can adapt to change. Examining the lives of trees offers critical insights for human wellbeing and survival, showing us when life thrives and falters.

“Witness tree” is an expression used for trees that mark boundaries, act as signposts and directionals, or witness key events in history and local culture – celebratory and tragic. Trees also witness the in-between moments that are precious and informative in their own right. Through this collaborative witnessing of trees and people, we hope to foster a world that is richer and more sustainable for both.

“Witness Tree” grew out of Trees as Teachers: Connecting to the Wisdom of Self and Nature, a year-long exploratory workshop led by Anne Forbes and Rebecca Power. John Steines, a participant in Trees as Teachers, is Lead Witness for this exhibit. “Witness Tree” presents the work of artists who observe what trees have to offer and attempt to serve as faithful translators through creative expression. “Witness Tree” also features a collaboratively developed World Tree where visitors can contribute their own tree observations, art, and stories.