Myth Makers at Dawes Arboretum

The Largest Art Exhibition In Dawes Arboretum’s History
Six Monumental Bamboo Structures Of Avian Avatars

The Dawes Arboretum now features six monumental sculptures from artists, The Myth Makers. The giant bamboo birds— some standing more than 20 feet tall—are the tallest art pieces ever shown at The Dawes Arboretum.

Built with bamboo and mixed media, the sculptures, coined “Avian Avatars” by The Myth Makers artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein are located throughout The Arboretum and will remain until the spring of 2023. Made from natural materials, the sculptures are site-specific and are meant to slowly disappear into nature over the course of their life.

“The Myth Makers are inspiring artists, and we could not be more thrilled to welcome their work to The Arboretum,” said Luke Messinger, Executive Director for The Dawes Arboretum. “These sculptures are the first of their kind on our grounds, and we are excited for guests to see them among our beautiful landscapes.”

The Myth Makers’ inspiration comes from a mutual love of nature. For Dodson, that’s specifically the mysterious nature of birds, and for Moerlein it’s events that leave visual marks in nature. Each sculpture represents an iconic local bird, and each has its own historical backstory: “Love Long Last” is a pair of Northern Cardinals representing The Arboretum’s founders; “Bertie’s Peacock” is a peacock representing Bertie Dawes’ passion for the magnificent bird; “The Gentleman” is an Eastern Bluebird in honor of Beman’s Great-Grandfather, Manasseh Cutler and his love of trees; “Towering” is a Sandhill Crane representing the iconic Columbus artist Ann Hamilton; and “The Great Owl” is a Great Horned Owl that acknowledges the original inhabitants of this landscape and the significance of the panoramic views surrounding the Arboretum. Dodson and Moerlein have completed more than 50 projects together internationally and have received multiple national awards and recognitions.

“The Avian Avatars we prepared for The Dawes Arboretum are for The Arboretum,” Dodson said. “Andy and I look at the entire community when we are gathering inspiration. Anyone who sees our work at The Dawes Arboretum will recognize each bird from its own story. They will know these sculptures aren’t just a passing installation—they will know they are meant to be there.”

For more information about The Myth Makers, including images of their work, visit For more information about the exhibition coming to The Dawes Arboretum, visit

The Dawes Arboretum was founded in 1929 by Beman and Bertie Dawes. This living museum celebrates the history and beauty of trees and nature. Located in Newark, Ohio (30 miles east of Columbus), it offers paths, trails, and boardwalks to explore along with historical and art exhibitions and educational programming. The Dawes Arboretum is recognized by the National Registry of Historic Places and is open daily. Admission is free to members and $10/adults, $5/children ages 5-15 and free/children under 5 years of age. Additional information on visiting, programming, history and membership is available at