Freestanding Kinetic Sculpture - We Made A Happy Little Tree - CODAworx

Freestanding Kinetic Sculpture – We Made A Happy Little Tree

Submitted by Jane Cheek

Client: Artsplosure with Trophy Brewing

Location: Raleigh, NC, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $60,000

Project Team


Jane Cheek

Jane Cheek - Artist, LLC

Metal Worker

Jennifer Van Orton


Cameron Laws



“We Made A Happy Little Tree” was commissioned by Artsplosure and Trophy Brewing Company. The work was installed in front of Trophy Brewing in Raleigh, NC for several months before traveling to Fayetteville Street in Raleigh for the Artsplosure Festival. The piece is now part of Artsplosure’s collection and will be installed in more locations as an art activation. The metal work on “We Made A Happy Little Tree” was done by Jennifer Van Orton and I was commissioned to re-imagine the sculpture as an interactive and kinetic piece. I created over one hundred oblong “leaves” made from hand painted mylar that I laminated and stitched to hang from the tree’s branches. The kinetic pieces made a beautiful sound in the wind that was like the sound of leaves rustling, only louder. The “Happy Tree” was a joyful activation in downtown Raleigh this fall and became a destination for art lovers in the area.

Each kinetic piece was hand painted, cut into an oblong oval, laminated, and sewn with my antique 1928 industrial sewing machine. I used fishing swivels to allow the pieces to move and rotate freely on the sculpture and tied them to the piece with waxed cord.


The project goal was to re-activate a decades old sculpture that had been commissioned for the purpose of hosting a variety of art and community interaction.


I worked closely with the Artsplosure team as well as with the Trophy Brewing owner to create a piece that would activate the spaces it served. I managed a team of fabricators to create and install the kinetic pieces.