Written by Tammy Partsch. Printed in the Nebraska City Newspress, October 4, 2013 - vol. 158, issue 90.
Nebraska City’s public art project, An Enchanted Arboretum, culminated on Saturday, September 28, 2013, with an auction of all 71 trees.  Held in Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, the auction was broken into three main parts; the student tree auction, a celebration hour, and the professional tree auction.  In total, the events of the day grossed more than $65,000.

All 46 four-foot student trees were purchased during the afternoon event.  Many of the students were on hand to witness their tree put on auction.
“To me, it was an amazing experience,” said Tammi Thompson.  Thompson’s daughter, Halle, was one of the student artists.  “We are honored and extremely proud to have Halle be a part of something so amazing here in Nebraska City.”

Thompson said when they won Halle’s tree, she became a little emotional.  “That was a moment of mommy pride,” she said.  “Now we have a piece of art to admire, remember, and pass on to Halle’s own family someday.”

An Enchanted Arboretum steering committee chair Tom Farrell echoed Thompson’s words.  “It was so exciting to see the look on our children’s faces as their trees were sold,” Farrell said.  “The auctions were a confirmation of the positive impact of art and community involvement for our students and art professionals.”
More than 150 people attended each auction.  At the evening event, the auctioneers, Brooke & Francis, changed things up a bit by offering the first bid at choice.  That meant whoever bid the highest amount would have their choice of tree.  Dan Kelly with St. Mary’s Community Hospital was pleased to be the first winner and the crowd cheered when he announced that Ann Williams’ Seasons of Color tree would be placed at the new hospital.

“Nebraska City has always been fantastically generous to St. Mary’s Community Hospital,” Kelly said.  “This was an opportunity to be a part of something historic and wonderful and give back to the community we are so proud to be a part of.”

Liz Shea-McCoy, a Lincoln artist who has led the An Enchanted Arboretum public art project for the past few years, also spoke at the event.  “I feel like a member of this community now,” she said.  “You have such positive spirit.  This is very special.”