VCs Lifelong Learning participants tour Galveston sculptures

A tree sculpture entitled "Monument to Galveston's Trees" is seen in front of a house. The stump reads "In memoriam of Galveston's lost oaks. September 13, 2008."

Artistic aftermath from Hurricane Ike in 2008 prompted 12 Victoria residents to visit Galveston this week as part of the Tree Sculpture Tour.

The 12, chaperoned by Destiny Olson, Lifelong Learning program specialist with Victoria College’s Workforce & Continuing Education Department, were part of VC’s Academy of Lifelong Learning designed for active seniors. The tour group’s ages ranged from 55 to 81.

Olson drove the group from Victoria to Galveston where they stopped for lunch at the Sunflower Bakery. They then took a self-guided tour of the 21 sculptures created from trees destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Instead of removing the tree trunks, Galveston city officials allowed artists and sculptors to turn destruction into art. The sculptures were paid for by private residents.

Armed with a map of the East End Historical District Tree Sculpture Tour, the group started at Sealy and West streets. Olson drove the Victoria tourists down Sealy, Ball, Winnie and Church streets where the tree sculptures are located.

The Victoria travelers were able to see the sculptures from the comfort of the van, but some of the group got out at two locations to get a better view of the artwork.

Tour participant Joyce Raiman said she enjoyed visiting the sculptures and learning about them.

“My favorite sculpture was the Japanese Yew tree; it was partly alive and partly a sculpture,” Raiman said. “It was fascinating to see how they took that tree and made it into a sculpture. There were seven pieces coming up that are all part of that sculpture.”

“The house is beautiful. All the sculptures were unique, and all have a story behind them,” she added.

Raiman complimented Olson as “an excellent tour guide and good driver.”

“We all had a great time,” Raiman said. “I have never been to Galveston, but because of that trip, I know I will return.”

Olson said there was lots of laughter during the trip.

“The whole way back, they tried to figure out where I would take them next,” she said with a smile. “This trip was a test to see how it would work.”

Olson said the group “will probably” make several day trips each semester.

For more information about VC’s Academy of Lifelong Learning, contact Destiny Olson at (361) 582-2426 or email

Carole Wallace and Jennifer Houston in front of "Where Have all the Flowers Gone?" This is a Japanese Yew, which only partially died, so the home owner decided to have this portion of the tree sculpted into hibiscus flowers, sea shells and sand dollars

Published: Thursday, 20 June 2013

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