Patrick Dougherty at CCES

"Sacred Grove"
A note from Patrick Dougherty:

On my first visit to the school campus, a small grove of old trees presented itself as special, suggesting that it remained uncleared because of its inherent interest and sanctity.  This copse is located near the chapel and arranged in a natural oval.  I conceived my sculpture there as a series of chapelettes set in an ellipse with a scalloped wall to connect them.  The five pieces have doors to invite visitors in, and, once inside, one can go further into a central room, an inner sanctum.  There looking up will reveal the canopy of trees over the sculpture, creating an awareness of the protective nature of these trees and the grandeur of their upper branches.  

On Friday, October 23rd, CCES bid farewell to Oklahoma-born sculptor and internationally acclaimed landscape artist Patrick Dougherty, who spent three weeks on campus building several large-scale sculptures made entirely out of willow saplings.  Dougherty’s full-time construction assistant and son, Sam, worked tirelessly as well throughout the course of the project.

The main structure, titled “Sacred Grove”, is nestled in the heart of campus between the Hartness Performing Arts Center and the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Three other sculptures, which were framed by Dougherty and then completed by students, sit just outside of the Lower, Middle, and Upper schools.

We are grateful to Patrick and Sam Dougherty and each one of the 150+ volunteers who followed their vision and transformed Sacred Grove into an inspiring achievement that speaks to everyone.


    • Patrick Dougherty spends some time in the "inner space" during a Meet & Greet event.

Dougherty has built approximately 300 sculptures throughout his career.  He works with twigs and branches to create site-specific installations, making the sculpture fit with its surroundings.  Woven together and held in place by tension, Dougherty's sculptures have a whimsical quality, inspired by his childhood adventures exploring the woods of North Carolina.

For more information regarding this project, please contact Jamie Inman at 864-331-4231 or at
"What has happened in this space over the past three weeks has been impressive: physically, visually, aesthetically, artistically, and emotionally.  From the clearing of the space to the digging of the bases to the framing of the sculpture to the weaving of the saplings to the tweaking of the surface . . . to the realization of ART -- this has been among the most full and fulfilling efforts of which I've ever been a part."  

-David Padilla, CCES Head of School

Christ Church Episcopal School (“CCES”) admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at CCES. CCES does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, creed, religion, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, scholarship or other programs, or athletic or other school-administered programs and activities.