The Journey Tree
Date created: 2020
The Journey Tree is a 12-foot-high walnut tree trunk, hand-carved with 24 images and symbols inspired by the life of Kevin D. Rose, a Cumberland First Baptist Church pastor who died in 2018. It is a rich feast of imagery, recalling the values, virtues and vision of Pastor Rose’s life. The walnut tree had been dead for several years and had been topped for safety reasons. The trunk was saved, hoping it could become something beautiful. Visitors can click on the marker’s QR code (see the project photos) to learn more about the creation of The Journey Tree and the person it honors. The Journey Tree is adjacent to a labyrinth and, according to the project sponsors, is a perfect place to meditate, reflect and pray.
Artist Philip Campbell worked with the natural design of the tree to incorporate the images, such as a Barred Owl that is blended with a tree knot. Some images are splashed with color or enhanced by a wood burning technique. Large-scale carvings such as a bear are more noticeable, but there are also images that are more hidden and subtle, such as a canoe. Included in the design is a carved wooden medallion of Pastor Rose’s favorite Bible verse – Micah 6:8.
Philip H. Campbell is an Indianapolis-based multi-media artist, specializing in painting, wood carving, and textiles. He creates “tactile objects of comfort,” with the goal of being simple and accessible in his messages. Campbell exhibits frequently in and around central Indiana, and has pieces in public and private collections nationwide. He is a 2017 recipient of the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ DeHaan Artist of Distinction award and received Arts Council Creative Renewal Arts Fellowships in 2009 and 2013.