Tree of Resilience

 

The sculpture weaves each story together on copper branches supporting a filigree of delicate leaves. While the tree began with only a few words, it now encompasses thousands of quotes. Its growth is ongoing as individuals continue to share their stories through social media and other venues.

Artist Statement.jpg

Tree of Resilience

Created by Carolyn Maier and Hadley Ferguson​

Leaves constructed by our devoted volunteers

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that affects an estimated 7 to 10 million people of all ages worldwide. Between those diagnosed with the disease, and those who have it, but may be unaware, the number of people with Parkinson’s may be significantly higher. Chances are you know someone who is, or will be, affected.

Montana artists, Carolyn Maier and Hadley Ferguson, are working as one on this installation. Maier and Ferguson began their conceptual design of this collaborative project over a year ago and describe its development as nothing less than serendipitous. This interactive exhibition draws from deeply personal and inspiring stories from the artists’ own lives. Maier’s childhood friend and mentor lived with Parkinson’s for over 30 years before his death, and Ferguson lives with an atypical form of Parkinson’s called Multiple System Atrophy. 

During the development of this exhibition, Maier and Ferguson have sought connection beyond their community in Western Montana and included stories and voices from around the world. As a result, the Tree of Resilience has inspired people from 19 countries to share how their lives have been touched by Parkinson’s. Their words and photographs are featured in 16 photographic portraits, paired with personal stories, thousands of quotes, one on each leaf of the tree, and a video presentation. 

Maier’s portraits capture the lives of people in the United States and abroad and focus on individuals who continue to do the things they are passionate about, in spite of living with Parkinson’s. These experiences include Marilyn with her extensive collection of jewelry, Catherine who published her first novel, Avi who experiments with sonotherapy, John who recently remarried at age 86, and Allison who has launched fitness programs designed for people with Parkinson’s. These people are just a few of the countless individuals who contributed to this global project, and their stories are as unique as their portraits. 

The sculpture weaves each story together on copper branches supporting a filigree of delicate leaves. While the tree began with only a few words, it now encompasses thousands of quotes. Its growth is ongoing as individuals continue to share their stories through social media and other venues. 

Maier and Ferguson’s goal was to connect and inspire others in the community, raise awareness of Parkinson’s, and bring resources to Montana. In the process they inspired each other. Their friendship began with the Tree of Resilience, and soon branched out to a global community of contributors to connect, inspire, and heal. A group of dedicated volunteers have given thousands of hours to help bring these stories and the Tree of Resilience to life, and the experience has touched each person who has been part of it. While this project focuses on the lives of those touched by Parkinson’s, it allows us all to explore our own resilience.