Tree of Knowledge


Client: The City of Roswell - Roswell Public Library - Roswell Interarts Organization

Location: Roswell, NM, United States

Completion date: 2008

Artwork budget: $90,000

Project Team


Susan Wink


The City of Roswell

The City of Roswell, New Mexico


The Tree of Knowledge was designed and built to commemorate the centennial of the Roswell Public Library. The concrete and steel sculpture is 17.5' x 10.5' x 10.5' with a 17' diameter steel canopy. The surface of the sculpture is covered with a dense mosaic of over 2,800 custom ceramic "word" tiles made by multi-generational community members. The public involvement reflects the library's non-discrimination policy and celebrates the significance of arts and literacy.


The Tree of Knowledge was designed specifically for the existing site on the south west corner of the Roswell Public Library lawn. A winding walkway from the parking lot across the lawn to the main sidewalk was designed to draw the public to the sculpture. Bench seating at the base of the Tree encourages the visitors to pause and read the custom word tiles and gaze up at the words in the steel canopy. The individually crafted steel leaves include eleven words relevant to the importance of the library advocacy of reading, learning and creativity. The ever changing light illuminating the canopy creates a dynamic shadow play across the sculpture and sidewalk.


I was the lead artist on the design and execution of the Tree of Knowledge for the non-profit Roswell Interarts Organization. This was a coordinated effort between RIO, the City of Roswell's Engineering Department, the Roswell Public Library and the entire community. Funds were secured through grants, businesses, local civic groups, individuals and in-kind donations. Over a two year period more than 1,000 multi-generational participants created bark like "word tiles" for the Tree in free tile making sessions held at the library and other public venues.

Additional Information

The Tree of Knowledge won the 2009 Coverings International Tile Convention Spectrum Award