ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A mysterious art collector, located just outside of Austin, has made a total of five sculpture donations to the City of Abilene. The most expensive and largest piece is a 22-foot tall musical sculpture called The Singing Ringing Tree – worth about half-a-million dollars and is one of only three in the world.
“It was gifted to the City of Abilene by a very generous donor… He was selling his property and moving into Austin… They knew that we have a lot of outdoor sculptures – our city is a wonderful art city and so he gifted this piece to us,” said Lynn Barnett, Executive Director of Abilene Cultural Affairs Council.
The original sculpture was designed by English architecture duo Tonkin Liu. Two of the trees were constructed in England and Saudi Arabia. Abilene’s tree was originally built by Houston-based JK Welding, from the Tonkin Liu design, for the private collector.
JK Welding owner, John King said the transportation of The Singing Ringing Tree had been quite the undertaking.
“We started disassembling it yesterday (Monday),” King updated. “We have about half of it assembled and we should finish tomorrow… It’s approximately 22-feet tall, weighs over 50,000 pounds. There’s 22 levels.”
Once assembled, the rushing West Texas wind will play a song as it passes through the pipes. The melodies can be heard from up to 400 feet away.
“The top three levels have machine fluted holes to give it that weird, unique sound,” King chuckled.
That weird, unique sound should fit right in with Abilene’s Storybook Capital culture.
“The Singing Ringing Tree was inspired by a German fairy tale,” Barnett explained. “It says in there, only those with love in their heart can hear the singing ringing tree.”
A press release from the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council stated the following:
“The Singing Ringing Tree” is one of five sculptures worth nearly a half million dollars that a Texas art collector is donating to the City of Abilene. The other five sculptures will be arriving in the next few weeks. They are:
⦁ “Davidians” – Mosaic tile Porky Pig pop art by Dianne Sonnenberg applied to granite carved by Stuart Simpson.
⦁ “Rainbow Bear” – Abstract Texas limestone figure by artist Stuart Simpson.
⦁ “Critter” – Abstract Texas limestone animal by artist Stuart Simpson.
⦁ “Dancing Pony (Red)” – Abstract cast aluminum horse sculpture by artist Kevin Box.
The Singing Ringing Tree will be displayed near Frontier Texas! on S 1st Street and Treadaway Boulevard. The other four sculptures will be rehomed in Abilene over the next several weeks.