Iowa City’s Solar Tree: 100 Grannies for a Livable Future Lead Groundswell for Downtown Public Art Showcase

Click image to watch YouTube Video, “The Energy Tree”

Click image to watch YouTube Video, “The Energy Tree”

By Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post

As a costly and controversial public art project reaches its final vote for funding at the Iowa City council meeting next Tuesday, a game-changing “solar tree” public art initiative launched by the 100 Grannies for a Livable Future has galvanized a groundswell of support for a more community-based, inclusive and environmentally focused alternative that could serve as a public art model for other American cities.

Incorporating the original purpose of the Black Hawk Mini Park to serve as “guardians of the land,” and as a hands-on follow-up to Iowa City’s recent commitment to the Compact of Mayor’s climate agreement, the 100 Grannies’ proposal is based on the globally acclaimed “Energy Tree” in Bristol, England’s central Millennium Square, which combines “community collaboration, artistic excellence, and science in a public art installation and renewable power source designed to engage the public in energy issues and address social inequality.”

Read the entire post here.

Condensed description of the Energy Tree by Jeff Biggers & 100 Grannies:
According to John Packer, the designer and artist behind the Bristol Energy Tree, “A tree is a metaphor, a playful metaphor – all trees are solar trees.” The Bristol Energy Tree is constructed with multi-directional solar panels for ‘leaves” and eight “roots” that enclose power points for recharging mobile phones. The solar cells are made from recycled fragments of broken panels that would otherwise have gone to waste.