“Forest Giants in a Giant Forest”

Bernheim Giants

IN MARCH, Bob Ray Co., Inc., and Bernheim Forest partnered to provide and set in a specific spot a tree for Belgium artist Thomas Dambo for his creation of the exhibit “Forest Giants in a Giant Forest.” Bernheim Forest was named for the philanthropist and German immigrant, Isaac Bernheim, who purchased and endowed the land to Kentucky as a gift in 1929. At the time of purchase the property had been used primarily to mine iron ore and thus had very few trees. Over the next 20 years, trees were planted in accordance to the donor’s specifications. And in 1935, adopting a landscape design by the Frederick Law Olmsted firm, workers broke ground for the Arboretum, which now takes up 600 acres. Encompassing more than 16,000 acres now, Bernheim is home to more than 8,000 varieties of trees, shrubs, and perennials, including the Hubbuch Holly Collection. Bernheim’s Arboretum annually hosts public art and
educational programs for thousands of students. Bernheim’s goal is to continue to connect people with nature and maintain focus on some of the plants the horticulture department maintains. Leading off this year in Bernheim’s celebration of its 90th anniversary, Thomas Dambo spoke on his “Forest Giants,” as well as other works of art he has constructed throughout the world. Dambo gives speeches about upcycling and arranges workshops for schools, companies, etc., teaching people how to build various things from their everyday trash.


Encompassing more than 16,000 acres now, Bernheim is home to more than 8,000 varieties of trees, shrubs, and perennials, including the Hubbuch Holly Collection.

Dambo’s “Forest Giants” at Bernheim consists of three sculptures made of recycled and r e p u r p o s e d materials. His goal in creating these sculptures is to show that our trash can be u s e f u l a n d valuable. T h e t h r e e s c u l p t u r e s showcased at Bernheim are a mother, daughter, and son. Lou Mari, one of the “Forest Giants,” was made using K e n t u c k y distillery bourbon barrel wood staves and some of the
to determine where he placed these pieces. Bob Ray Co. was on hand in midMarch with a crew and equipment to help retrieve a downed Sycamore tree that will be used as the entrance to the exhibit. Sporting two main stems, we set it in the ground upside down to create a natural gateway. BRC’s crew was able to gently extract this tree from the surrounding forest and place it on the Chip Trucking’s lowboy, where the root ball was washed off to remove any dirt (the giant’s “hair”). BRC then moved and “planted” it to where it has been sculpted and now on display. “Forest Giants” is expected to remain on exhibition for the next three years and can be visited during Bernheim’s open hours. For more information on Bernheim and Dambo’s “Forest Giants”, you may go to: https://bernheim.org/ .