The Sculpture Trail, sponsored by Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum, has installed “Oxidized Pod” a welded work by artist Robert Koch. The sculpture, which can now be seen along Brook Road in the arboretum, is the second in a series of works of art to be featured by the Sculpture Trail project. The striking 72-inch sculpture, fabricated from steel rebar rods that have been welded together, is designed to capture the organic movements found in nature, In works such as this, Koch seeks to challenge the inherent behavior of the rigid material to capture the movements of a leaf in the wind, the swaying of reeds, or even the split second a seed begins to germinate.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, Koch attended Kutztown University, where he studied art education. Over the course of nearly 20 years, he created functional stoneware pottery. Ten years ago, he completed a metal sculpting class at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and knew immediately that this indeed was a calling. In 2004, he moved from rural Pennsylvania to the New York City area and began working solely on steel sculptures. His rapidly growing list of public and corporate commissions includes a major installation at the headquarters of the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation in Jersey City.

The Sculpture Trail, part of the continuing Art at the Arboretum series sponsored by Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum, is a multiyear project to benefit the arboretum. It is being curated by Scott Broadfoot of the Broadfoot & Broadfoot Gallery in Boonton, New Jersey. The Sculpture Trail chairpersons are Stuart Reiser, a partner in the firm Shapiro, Croland, Reiser, Apfel & DiIorio and pro bono attorney for the Friends of Laurelwood Board of Directors, and his wife Leslie, both long-time Pines Lake residents. A GoFundMe page has been set up for donations to help cover installation and signage expenses for the project. To contribute, please go to gf.me/u/x4rvy7  

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The Sculpture Trail will feature more than 15 sculptures by prominent artists. It will serve to enhance the park by complementing its landscape and serene setting.  The sculptures will be available for sale, with a percentage of the proceeds donated to Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. The first of the sculptures, Brickhead Iyemoja by sculptor James Taylor, was installed last fall. Additional installations are planned in the coming months.

Friends of Laurelwood Arboretum is the non-profit conservancy whose mission is to preserve and manage the 30-acre arboretum in partnership with Wayne Township. For additional information about The Sculpture Trail or the Friends organization, go to www.laurelwoodarboretum.org, send an email to  info@laurelwoodarboretum.org or call 973-831-5675.