Auburn Family

Toomer's Oaks Live On in Beautiful Art

Two art exhibits allow Auburn's beloved Toomer's Oaks to live on.

The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents Matt Moulthrop, a third generation master woodturner. Moulthrop was taught by both his grandfather, Ed Moulthrop, and his father, Philip Moulthrop.

Losing the Auburn Oaks was a tragedy for the Auburn campus and community. The trees were an integral part of the cultural fabric of the university. When noted artist Matt Moulthrop heard about this, he cared enough to reach out to Auburn alumnus Jim Gorrie through a mutual friend and offered to make a bowl from the wood for JCSM.  Mr. Gorrie went to Grant Davis, secretary of the university’s board of trustees who brought museum director Marilyn Laufer into the conversation, which resulted in this beautiful commemorative work of art. As a part of the museum’s permanent collection, the bowl will represent the significant and compelling acts of healing and remembrance. This handsome turned bowl will serve to remind all of us that something good and beautiful can come out of a very tragic situation.  (See video below.)'s Amber Sutton interviewed Moulthrop for Sculpture made from portion of Toomer's Oaks now on display in Auburn

Moulthrop said he wanted to create a piece from trees that once lived at Toomer's Corner after following national coverage about their poisoning.

"I went to view the Auburn Oaks as living trees and looked at what sections had the most interest," he said. "I picked a section of the tree on College Street. There was a 'Y,' like a fork, in the tree near the top – almost like a crown."

"Our hope is that museum visitors will be awed by the beauty and skill reflected in this artwork," said Marilyn Laufer, museum director. "We also hope they view this as a tribute, not only to the trees that were lost, but the way the Auburn family was able to find a way to reaffirm our belief in humanity, evident in this example of creative expression."

Read more about both exhibits at the Jule Collins Smith website.


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