BAYarts sculpture has a story

Tom Schemrich and his students created the "By Nature, Creative" sculpture at BAYarts in 2013.

This is the story of how an abandoned tree trunk turned into the awe-inspiring sculpture installed on the BAYarts campus.

Once upon a time, Bay High art instructor Tom Schemrich, who would pass through the campus with his students to draw, noted that a particular campus garden was in need of a sculpture. The garden in question sits in front of the iconic red caboose in a circular lavender bed sponsored by Bay residents Ralph and Ginny Cascarilla. Now, anyone who knows "Mr. Schemrich" knows he took this as a serious creative challenge, a challenge his students would have an integral part in: conceiving, creating, installing and maintaining the work.

Under his direction, the students submitted several ideas to BAYarts in the form of small clay models. After selecting the design of winding hands reaching upward, the students got to work. 

There just so happened to be this massive trunk of a fallen fir tree that Schemrich had in mind. So in the confines of the Bay High School art classroom, between classes, on weekends and throughout the summer, the students got to work. One year and many, many, many hours, days and months later, their vision became a reality. The title: "By Nature, Creative" was inspired by BAYarts tagline: "Artistic by Nature."

The sculpture was installed by the students and received a great reception by Bay residents and park visitors. Over the years it has become a favorite photo op for park visitors and wedding guests and a source of inspiration for hundreds of artists.

That was nine years ago. The students who created the sculpture have graduated and moved on. But the sculpture has to be maintained – remember it's a tree trunk, not iron or bronze (though it's hard to tell). Last fall, discovering cracks and damage done by pecking birds, Schemrich single-handedly spent his after school hours making the repairs. Looking to the future, we hope to pass this care to the next generation and preserve this wonderful monument to passionate collaboration, a BAYarts theme.

To help fund the preservation of "By Nature, Creative," please contact me at 

Nancy Heaton

Nancy Heaton is Executive Director at BAYarts

Read More on Nature & Environment
Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:30 AM, 03.01.2022