Courtesy: Mary C. Waltham
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Off to the Woods

Princeton, New Jersey

Mary C. Waltham (

184 Springdale Road, Princeton, NJ, 184 Springdale Road, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540
Also known as:  The Bark People
Date:  2015
Placement:  roadsides
Collection:  Artist-sponsored
Artwork Type:  bas-reliefs (sculpture)
Material:  wood (plant material), plant material
Description:  The site for this public art work is the outward facing (towards the road) perimeter fence around our house that extends for 60 feet. It’s of wooden ‘stockade’ style and 6ft tall. The pavement runs directly beside it. The road is used by people who live nearby and walk up to town or to the train (for NYC) AND by many who bike, walk, and run along the road to the trails in the woods.

A very informal count suggests ~ 100- 200 people a day go by on foot. The intention was to make a relief mural showing these activities, people ‘doing’ all the things they do to travel this road (but not in cars) that is walking, running, biking, with dogs, as individuals, couples, families etc. The piece is deliberately approachable, playful and raises interest, and attention with passers-by to underscore the value of shared open environmental space. It underscores the multiple shared public uses made of this stretch of road.

The figures were made from environmentally sustainable material collected from the woodland floor locally, twigs, bark, wood, and cones and were attached to the vertical fence to form an eco-relief mural.

The people who use the road are in general coming for the relative tranquility and openness of it and that it leads to woodland with trails and paths. The installation speaks to that shared enjoyment.

The installation proved very popular in the neighborhood with a small sample of the feedback as follows:“Thank you for your recent installation of public art on Springdale Road. It has been a real treat to walk past every day and wonder who or what is coming next. The children have commented each time, and argued about the animal being walked, even though it's clearly a dog! Thank you for doing it.”“The wall mural is beautiful. We enjoy it every time we go by.”“ This is a poignant, sincere and dynamic piece. I wish I could see the real thing but I am so enjoying seeing it virtually as it moves along the fence!”“Great mural! I love the feeling of movement and the textures. The figures have real character. The people passing by must love it. Well done!”

A 3 min video documents creation of the piece and audience response when some 800 runners passed by on Thanksgiving Day (see: )



Installation (3m 24s)


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