Exhibits at the Arboretum

"Art Promotes Waste Awareness at the Arboretum"

Earlier this year, Lloyd Singleton, Director of the Arboretum, wrote an article for the Star News, Saturday edition, Home & Garden section of the newspaper, about waste products and landfills and a better way of living through recycling.  

Here is an excerpt from his article:  "...There is a better way;

glass, steel, aluminum, paper, and some plastics can be recycled through the New Hanover County single-stream recycling program outlined here - https://recycling.nhcgov.com/services/recycling/.

Food waste can be composted at home or commercially - https://www.wilmingtoncompostcompany.com/.

Many plastic products are now available in a plant-based biodegradable form and are commercially compostable. And NC State University provides some more tips - https://composting.ces.ncsu.edu/recycling-solid-waste-reduction/.

We are promoting better waste disposal at the New Hanover County Arboretum with a three-bin system: Blue for recyclables, Green for compostables and Gray for landfill waste.

During the “Sustainable Summer” initiative, the Arboretum exhibited some artwork made from garbage by a local artist known as Francisco Negro. The pieces intended to make you stop, scratch your head and wonder."

Here is a description of the art that was located in different locations around the Arboretum:

Near the Welcome Garden (diagonally to the right from the pineapple water fountain):

Pop-Up Last Supper Table

The Pop-Up Last Supper Table is a re-creation of the original biblical last supper with a modern take. Influenced by pop-up shops, ,  it is easy to transport, set up, and use spontaneously for what could be a last supper. This is particularly relevant in representing the uncertainty we feel today as a society in regard to people’s health and wellbeing. Francisco chose to build the table using readily available materials; old wood and nails. with an old door added as a last-minute adjustment to accommodate a party of thirteen. Francisco says, “life has no concise value until we view it through the lens of a limited time offer” and this piece is an example of  that thought as an object.

Stop and Smell the Flowers

This piece plays a spin on the timely phrase “stop and smell the flowers.” Francisco translated this phrase that reminds us to be mindful of the present moment into a metaphor, meaning that we should think twice and be more mindful about using single use items— like the aluminum cans and chop sticks that make up this display of a flower patch. He stated, “please stop and smell the absurdity of using any single use items. And if you must, please reduce, reuse, and recycle.” There are 132 cans on chop sticks in this installation. Francisco specifically chose the number of 132 cans because that is the average number that each U.S. citizen disposes per year. Francisco hopes this installation preaches his message and brings awareness to the environmental harm that single-use items create.

Along the sidewalk in the Camellia Garden (located at the rear of the Arboretum to the left of the picnic tables) was the following piece of art:


This piece symbolizes a family’s relationship and the wonder of a man and woman creating a child together. The sculpture’s structure was inspired by ancient Greek grave markers which were called stelae—the Greek term for pillar or shaft. Francisco composed this piece using a variety of hardwoods from Fitzgerald Wood Products. Combining Ipe, Balau Red, Balau Yellow, and Mahogany lumber, the wood slats are bound with steel wire to depict four different figures on each side.

Further down that pathway toward the Contemplation Garden:

Flower Tree

This sculpture is composed of flattened aluminum cans attached to a tree limb with chop sticks. The colorful metallics of the cans reminds us that the leaves of trees are one of the most important things nature has provided us with. They are necessary to produce the oxygen that we live and breathe in every moment of our lives. The sculpture shows us how Francisco utilizes and repurposes common trash to create a conversation piece. 

Check out the blog on the home page.  The artist, Francisco Negro, outlines what went into his thinking about the art.

"Friends of the New Hanover County Arboretum" is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403


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