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MOCA North Miami Restores Internationally Renowned “Electric Tree” Public Artwork

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) has completed restoration of artist Mark Handforth’s “Electric Tree” (2011), one of the most important public artworks that MOCA has commissioned in its 25 year history. The museum will celebrate the restoration with a virtual tree-lighting event and conversation with the artist on March 24 at 7 p.m. ET.

Located in Griffing Park, just blocks away from MOCA, Handforth’s sculpture traces the branches of a 100-foot-wide banyan tree with brilliantly colored fluorescent tubes that illuminate its understory. The restoration of “Electric Tree” offers arts and culture to a community park that is open year-round.

“We are proud to restore the stunning ‘Electric Tree’ public artwork at Griffing Park in North Miami,” said Chana Sheldon, executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. “The Electric Tree is one of the most important public artworks that the museum has commissioned and we are grateful to the Knight Foundation and the City of North Miami for their extraordinary support in realizing this project. With the effects of COVID, it has been especially significant to bring new public art to the community safely, 24/7.”

“Electric Tree” was first installed at Griffing Park in 2011, in conjunction with the artist’s major exhibition “Rolling Stop” at the MOCA North Miami. The 2021 restoration of this significant public artwork was made possible with major support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the City of North Miami. When safety permits, regularly scheduled “Under the Electric Tree” programs will include site-specific performances, live music, storytelling, hands-on art activities, and more, transforming Griffing Park into a landmark venue for consistent off-site, all-ages programming at the center of a diverse Caribbean and Hispanic community.

“Mark Handforth’s ‘Electric Tree’ is a visually stunning creation that highlights art’s role in connecting people to each other and to the places they live,” said Priya Sircar, director of Knight’s arts program. “During the pandemic, we’ve seen how the arts are essential. By restoring the artwork, MOCA is bringing back a beloved piece that offers the community a safe and creative experience in a time when it's needed the most.”

Handforth graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in Frankfurt and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. He is internationally acclaimed for his large scale installations in public spaces including Central Park in New York, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the MCA in Chicago, as well as during the FIAC offsite event in Paris. Handforth has also received public commissions from the cities of Paris (Porte de Bagnolet) and Zurich (Tessinerplatz).

The Electric Tree will be open to the community year-round.

The virtual tree-lighting ceremony is scheduled for March 24 at 7 p.m.

The Electric Tree is located in Griffing Park at NE 123 Street & West Dixie Highway, North Miami, Florida 33161.

The tree lighting ceremony will be virtual via Zoom, and will be free to the public. The Zoom login information will be provided upon registration. To register, please click here.


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