Arbor Sapientiae Sculpture "Tree of Wisdom"

The sculpture Arbor Sapientiae by Ronald Bauer was originally commissioned by the Arbor Tomorrow Project. The sculpture cost $7,000 and was funded through a grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts. The abstract sculpture is a tower of books, partially opened, cascading down a central trunk support painted flat black. The sculpture was popularly known as the "Tree of Knowledge" and was originally installed in 1979 on a cement traffic island at State Street and Liberty Street, but was the subject of much controversy, derision and vandalism and was removed to a city storage yard in 1980 when the State Street was renovated. In 1984, it was sandblasted and reinstalled at its new site in Hanover Square across the street from Blimpy Burger at the corner of Packard Street and Division Street. Related articles can be found in The Ann Arbor News: July 15, 1979, pg. A-5; May 17, 1982; June 7, 1984.

The saga continues. At Ann Arbor Public Art Commission meeting in March 2010, the commission discussed a possible sculpture project at Hanover Square, which is part of the Downtown Development Authority Fifth and Division street improvement project. The DDA wants Arbor Sapientiae moved. The AAPAC plans to set up a task force to decide what to do - either moving it to a new location, storing it or de-accessioning it.

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