The Spirit Tree

Title: The Spirit Tree

Artist: TANK: Public Art

Location: 1402 E 20th St

Date Completed: 2012

Description: As the tornado flattened a path about a mile and a half wide and four miles long through Joplin’s center, 98% of mature trees, an estimated 10,000 trees, were lost. They were toppled or shredded, except for a scattered few left standing, stripped of most branches. As debris was cleared, they were all that remained to fill the now unobscured void. We identified with these survivors as the lonely battered symbols of our own “Hope.” They stood their ground. While still standing, many of the trees did not leaf out this spring, as experts had predicted, but those that did inspired our decision to use a tree as our “statement” or canvas to confront not just our loss, but the perseverance, re-birth, and renewal that will enliven both our present and future. Although a temporary piece of public art, The Joplin Spirit Tree signifies the spirit and strength of Joplin in the wake of a life-changing event. It will serve as a tangible reminder of those lost to the storm as well as heroes and volunteers who are still lifting spirits with selfless assistance.