Morris Arboretum’s Latest Installation Is A Massive Outdoor Stickwork

Art meets nature at the Morris Arboretum’s newest installation, which could be on display for the next one to two years — depending on the weather.

Renowned artist Patrick Dougherty returned to the Chestnut Hill attraction for a third time to create his latest stickwork installation, Loop de Loop. Now on view, the piece is made entirely of natural materials woven together into a large-scale structure for visitors to explore.


  • Loop de Loop is now on display at Morris Arboretum.
  • Patrick Dougherty bent and shaped sticks, twigs, saplings and branches to create the installation.
  • The structure will last up to two years, weather permitting.
  • Visitors can enter the sculpture and peek through its windows and openings.

For most of March 2019, visitors had the chance to watch Dougherty create the installation and see it take shape. The exhibition was christened Loop de Loop after completion.

Dougherty has worked with Morris Arboretum twice before to create popular stickwork sculptures in its gardens — Summer Palace debuted in 2009 and Waltz in the Woods opened in 2015.

Stickwork sculptures are made entirely of natural materials, including twigs, branches, saplings and, yes, sticks. Dougherty bends and shapes his canvas pieces, weaving them into each other to create final installations — nearly 300 throughout his career! — that stand alone without nails or other hardware.

Loop de Loop is full of spirals and switchbacks that visitors might associate with a roller coaster. The sticks and twine that hold the structure together — which were sourced from upstate New York — connect nearly a dozen light-filled rooms and tunnels that visitors can walk through.

Visitors can see Loop de Loop in Morris Arboretum’s Madeleine K. Butcher Sculpture Garden. Guests can also appreciate the full scale of the sculpture from two key vantage points: Wisteria Walk below the Rose Garden and the path along English Park.

Morris Arboretum — a 92-acre garden complete with fountains, meadows and woodlands — is located at the edge of Philadelphia’s historic Chestnut Hill neighborhood. The attraction is also a teaching and research hub for the University of Pennsylvania and is recognized as the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Chestnut Hill East and Chestnut Hill West lines of SEPTA’s Regional Rail system drop visitors just a short walk from Morris Arboretum. Ample parking is also available.

The stickwork sculpture is included in general garden admission, which is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (65+), $10 for youth (3-17) and free for children under age 3. Additional discounts are available; visit the arboretum’s website for full details.

Don’t wait — visit this stunning new installation before the natural materials begin to weather.

When:Opened March 30, 2019 and lasts one to two years
Where:Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue
Cost:$20, adult; $18, senior, $10, youth 3-17; free, kids under 3



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