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A forest of sculptures will be unveiled in Nebraska City, the home of Arbor Day, on April 20.

"An Enchanted Arboretum" comprises 72 trees designed by professional artists and students, first grade through high school.

The unveiling will be at 1 p.m. in front of the Otoe County Courthouse, 1021 Central Ave., in Nebraska City. In case of inclement weather, the Nebraska City Middle School, 909 First Corso, is the alternate site.

The three-dimensional stylized sculptures were manufactured by Icon Poly of Gibbon and are made of a cast fiber-reinforced urethane in two sizes. Entries were submitted by professional artists, most from Southeast Nebraska. Twenty-one were selected for the 6-foot-tall sculptures.

As part of the project, Liz Shea McCoy of Lincoln, working with Arts Are Basic, a partner program of Doane College, took instruction on public art and art-making to Nebraska City teachers and classrooms.

More than 1,000 students participated, each designing their own 1-foot maquette. Of those, 47 student designs were chosen to be replicated by the students onto 4-foot-tall sculptures.

Participating schools included Lourdes Central Catholic, the Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired, Northside Elementary, Hayward Elementary, Nebraska City Middle School and Nebraska City High School.

Following the unveiling, the sculptures will be displayed at temporary locations outdoors and in businesses for the summer throughout Nebraska City and auctioned off in September.

All 6-foot-tall sculptures will be installed permanently around the community with plaques noting individual sponsors.

The public arts project is funded by grants from The Paul, John, Anton & Doris Wirth Foundation; Karl H. & Wealtha H. Nelson Family Foundation; Kropp Charitable Foundation; city of Nebraska City; Rotary Club No. 2090; and United Way of Nebraska City.

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