Dunwoody, GA, May 19, 2023- Dunwoody Preservation Trust (DPT) is announcing an exciting piece of public art that is now on display at the Donaldson-Bannister Farm – a nineteen-foot-long mural carved in relief from a 100 year old red oak tree that died on the Donaldson-Bannister Farm during the property’s rehabilitation.  Called The Dunwoody Diorama, the mural depicts the history of the Dunwoody area from 8,000 B.C. to the present day and will be used as an educational tool for DPT and the community. 

Discussion about the repurposing of the dead tree began in late 2018. and after extensive research it was determined that Chamblee artist Tom Williams was the perfect sculptor for the project. Several other local non-profits joined DPT in funding the preliminary design for the content of the piece with the purpose of celebrating the history of our community.  The City of Dunwoody (who owns the Donaldson-Bannister Farm) removed the top of the tree, leaving a standing 20-foot trunk.  Initially, the plan was to carve the upright trunk in place, but after an arborist’s inspection and boring, it was determined that the tree was not stable enough and had to be cut down.  Sculptor Tom wisely advised DPT to have the trunk cut into thick slabs which could be cured and used to create a linear mural.

In January, 2020 the tree was removed, taken away and cut into slabs to dry outdoors until it was time for the drying kiln. The pandemic slowed the process considerably; however, it allowed time to prepare the conceptual sketch for The Dunwoody Diorama.  The sketch went through multiple iterations as it was reviewed by historians, local non-profits, the City of Dunwoody, and others with expertise. The final sketch was approved in early 2022 and carving began a few months later in August.

Now that it is completed The Dunwoody Diorama is mounted under the side porch roof of the newer barn at the Donaldson-Bannister Farm, facing Chamblee Dunwoody Road.  It is lighted, secured and measures approximately nineteen feet in length and three feet in height.  It is available for viewing by the public during park hours with QR codes and brochures for self-guided tours, pre-scheduled DPT guided tours, and augmented reality through facebook and Instagram on your own phone or device that will bring parts of the mural to life.  Several children’s books will be published about various elements of the Diorama to pique their interest in history.

Dunwoody Preservation Trust is working on plans for a regional history museum to be located in Dunwoody and hopes to use the Diorama as a foundation of that endeavor.  This extraordinary and unique work of art will be an important educational tool and will be enjoyed by all for generations.

The Diorama is being funded privately with the generous donations of many members of our community and some of our local non-profits.  If you would like to make a tax deductible donation for the Diorama, large or small, please contact Noelle Ross, Executive Director of DPT, at 770-668-0401, email to noelle@dunwoodypt.org, or visit our website at dunwoodypreservationtrust.org and click on The Dunwoody Diorama.

About DPT: Founded in 1995, the Dunwoody Preservation Trust (DPT) is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to the preservation of the history, heritage and quality of life of the Dunwoody community. A non-profit organization, the DPT owns and manages the circa 1906 Cheek-Spruill House, Dunwoody’s signature building at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody roads. DPT also operates and manages the circa 1870 Donaldson-Bannister Farm, a special events venue and public park owned by the City of Dunwoody. More information is at https://dunwoodypreservationtrust.org.

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Noelle Ross
Executive Director
Dunwoody Preservation Trust
PO Box 888658
Dunwoody, GA 30356