PUNTA GORDA, FL (September 16, 2015) – The Tetrault Family Foundation today announced the upcoming
installation* of its most recent acquisition – three “Tree Trellises” – for the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens. These 18-foot tall metal “trees” will greet visitors when they turn into the Gardens’ entry driveway. Each will serve as a trellis on which one of three different varieties and colors of Bougainvillea will wind their branches around the trellis framework as they climb skyward.

The tree trellises created by artist Cary Stefani of Stefani & Co., in Keego Harbor, Michigan, take their inspiration from similar structures at the Getty Art Museum in Los Angeles. Each has a 22-foot diameter “tree canopy” overhang, providing shade to visitors using the walkway connecting the parking lot on the Gardens’ property on the south side of Riverside Drive with the Sculpture Garden on the north side, fronting on the Peace River shoreline. Both the Sculpture Garden and entry driveway/parking lot which are currently under development, are scheduled for completion in Fall 2016, and will represent Phases I and II of the Foundation’s 27-acre $30M Botanical & Sculpture Gardens’ Master Plan.

Jacob Kulin, the artist who conceived, built and erected the Gardens’ “signature” sculpture – “Steel Palm” – already situated in the Sculpture Garden, will be assisting Cary Stefani and Cary’s son, Jesse Stefani, with the erection of the three tree trellises. Jacob, a renowned Boston artist, apprenticed with Cary Stefani while an art Student at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

The tree trellises are constructed of large-diameter re-bar and have been engineering-certified to withstand 140 mph hurricane winds. Once the Bougainvillea climbs the “tree trunks” and spreads out along the “branches” forming the “tree canopy” overhang, each will appear as a unique “flowering tree.”

With each object Cary Stefani designs, he creates more than a trendy accessory or architectural element – he fashions a work of art. He and his son Jesse are award-winning creators of designs in metal, best known for the design and fabrication of finely-crafted jewelry as well as a unique approach in creating larger metalworks and architectural elements. Cary also studied at Cranbrook Academy and his son, Jesse, has a degree in Design from College for Creative Studies in Michigan.

“Originally, our work was focused on jewelry, but in 2005 we decided to expand our services to include larger format objects – sculpture, furniture, lighting and other architectural elements,” said Cary Stefani. “We still give the same attention to detail and design as we do when we create jewelry, but it’s on a much larger scale!” Stefani & Co., created, fabricated and installed the gates and handrails for the main entrance of Michigan State University’s Beal Botanical Garden and was also commissioned to design and produce stair rails for the remaining three entrances. They also created two bronze wall sculptures for the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens prior to being commissioned for the Tree Trellises.

The Tetrault Family Foundation, an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Punta Gorda, FL, is in the process of accomplishing its phased development of the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens as a cultural amenity for the people of Charlotte and neighboring Southwest Florida counties, as well as national and international visitors and tourists. The total site encompasses 27 acres along the Peace River and straddles Riverside Drive in Punta Gorda. Natural attributes within the site’s acreage include a tidal creek and marshlands, in addition to its uplands, a portion of which front on the Peace River shoreline. The Gardens’ present focus is on the creation of a Sculpture Garden on ten acres fronting on the Peace River.