Artists transform 'sick and dying' Chicago trees

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Throughout city parks, the Chicago Tree Project commissions transformations of trees that would otherwise be cut down, turning them into public artworks.

"Using art as a vessel for public engagement, sculptors will transform a variety of trees into fun and whimsical experiences for the greater Chicago community," said a release on the project's website about the annual effort.

In Palmer Square Park, artist Carrie Fischer put "The Helping Hand" into place Friday. This massive concrete hand is wrapped around a tree trunk and will have over-sized Emerald Ash Borer Beetles surrounding it. Those beetles are in large part the impetus for this project, having eaten through city trees according to a placard next to Janet Austin's "The A'maze'ing Larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer."
Steve Gaeth, another artist, hammered away at his project across the park's grassy space.

Their creations are among more than two dozen spread throughout the city.
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