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Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

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Beach Museum of Art
Kansas State University
701 Beach Lane,
Manhattan, KS 66506
(14th & Anderson Ave.)



Tree of Life: The Art of Charles Bello

September 12 - December 14, 2014

Charles Bello trained as an architect in the 1950s. However, to call Bello simply an architect would be like calling Leonardo Da Vinci a draftsman. Analogies with Leonardo come easily to mind on a visit to Bello’s home deep in the redwood forest of Northern California. His passion for stewarding the 400 acres that comprise his Redwood Forest Institute has inspired him to apply his keen intelligence and formidable talent to whatever need arises. He is an ecologist, engineer, subsistence farmer, inventor, artist, and architect. The bridges and buildings on the property are all built by Charles from his own designs. The wood was harvested from the trees he carefully chose to cull, and sawn in a mill ingeniously rigged by him to be driven by the engine of a 1965 Ford Galaxy.

Six years ago Bello began making sculptures. Soon he designed and built an elegantly beautiful deep woods gallery for their display: Gallery in the Redwoods. The structure is circular with a translucent, latticed ceiling that bathes the interior in a warm light. It features a clerestory of clear glass that provides visitors with a continuous circular mural of green forest growth to complement the rich wood surfaces of the sculptures and the interior of the gallery. The wondrous strangeness of discovering this gallery in such a remote location is equaled only by the beauty of the wooden sculptures themselves.

This exhibition offers a window into the redwood forest that Bello has dedicated his life to preserving. These sculptures offer us a way to know the redwoods - by their colors, forms, surfaces, and aesthetic presence. In a larger sense, however, this exhibition is intended to inspire the viewer to think about the beauty and fragility of every ecosystem, including the one closest to his or her own heart.

A number of K-State students worked under faculty direction to create elements of this exhibition’s design. This exhibition is made possible in part by a gift from Steve and Renee Peters. 

Related Programs

All programs take place at the Beach Museum of Art and are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. 

Celebrating Art: Transformations - SOLD OUT
September 12, 2014, 6-9 p.m.
Friends of the Beach Museum of Art fundraising gala and exhibition opening. For tickets call 785-532-7718.

Early Release Workshop
October 8, 2014, 2-3:30 p.m.
View “Tree Of Life” and “Life Forms” and learn more about sculpting in wood. Create your own wooden sculptures (no carving involved). $5 per participant, $3 for Friends of the Beach Museum of Art members.

Gallery Walk: Tree of Life
December 4, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Join Beach Museum of Art Director Linda Duke and Kansas State University assistant professor of photography Shreepad Joglekar for an informal exploration of the exhibition.  


Image Credit: Photo by Clay Maffett.