TreehousesCall for Artists, Designers & Builders:

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum 2017 Summer Exhibit:Re-Imagining Treehouses: Amazing Spaces, Places and Escapes invites your creativity and imagination in constructing this exhibit.

This exhibit will re-imagine treehouses, places and spaces; and encourage visitors to explore the essential role of trees in nature and daily living.

Treehouse Design Parameters:

  • Location: Around some of our main buildings and along 3-mile drive so treehouses are accessible for all to see.
  • Size: Treehouses can be built anywhere from 9 sq. ft. to 400 sq. ft. But don't let these sizes impede your creativity- think outside the square!
  • Creativity: Designs should creatively delight, inspire and engage visitors. Stretch the idea of what a treehouse is. Be as interactive as possible and environmentally friendly.
  • Structure: Treehouses can be enclosed, exposed, frame air space, or a combination.They can be built near or among the trees. As much as possible, avoid attaching the treehouse to the tree(s) in the site area. Use supportive structures to hold the treehouses so they are freestanding.

Treehouses should not require excavation if possible. If excavation or boring is required, it should be kept as far from the tree as possible. A minimum distance could be prescribed but every root system is different. This will be addressed on a case by case situation.

  • Materials: Materials should be weather resistant, durable, low maintenance, and appropriate for the outdoors. Submissions should list materials and installation process/needs.
  • Support: All selected designs will receive a $2,000 stipend.
  • Mandates:
    • Designs cannot drill into trees, damage trees or tree roots.
    • Tree houses should use support other than site tree(s) where possible and/or minimize stress on tree itself.
    • Designs are encouraged toutilize environmentally friendly materials.
    • Designs must be durable to withstand Minnesota weather and viewed by more than 400,000 visitors.
  • Maintenance: Participants will be required to maintain their exhibit through October 1st.

Design Submission Requirements:

  • Designer or Artistname and contact information.
  • Treehouse title.
  • Artist/Designer statement.Include a brief description of your design including the type of material(s) to be used. Name of proposed design and description of how it relates the exhibit.
  • Detailed drawings or renderings of the proposed gathering space submitted in jpg format. Multiple views if necessary.
  • Artist resume and letter of interest in pdf format.
  • Feasibility of Design; must be able with 100% confidence to deliver design and sustain through exhibit period.
  • If chosen, participants must carry insurance.
  • Artists can also mail in a CD with required documents to address below.

Entry Period:

Begins Monday, February 6th, 2017 and ends Monday February 20th, 2017. Submissions are to be mailed or emailed to Wendy DePaolis, Curator Art & Sculpture. Submissions received after 11:59pm CST on February 20thwill not be considered for participation.


Mailing Address:

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Attn: Wendy DePaolis
3675 Arboretum Drive
Chaska, MN 55318

Important Dates:

  • Thursday, Feb.2 & Saturday, Feb. 4: Treehouse Exhibit informational meeting at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.Participants are strongly recommended to attend ONE of the informational meetings but it is not required. Both meetings will cover the same material.
    • Feb. 2: 6 p.m. in Azalea Classroom (Oswald Visitor Center)
    • Feb. 4: 10 a.m. in Classroom II (Snyder Building)
  • Monday, Feb. 20: Submissions due to Wendy DePaolis by 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Monday, Feb. 27: Participants will be notified if they are selected to participate in exhibit
  • Monday, May 8-Friday, May 26: Participants build their treehouse onsite at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
  • Saturday, May 27: Exhibit opens to the public
  • Thursday, June 1: Selected exhibit participants will be featured guests of the exhibit opening reception with Arboretum members, patrons, trustees. All exhibit participantsand their families are invited to attend
  • Monday, Oct. 2-Friday, Oct. 6: Participants responsibly de-install and remove their treehouse from Arboretum grounds

Participant Selection:

Fifteen designers will be selected by a distinguished panel comprised of experts in art, design and nature:

  • Peter Olin, Director Emeritus Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
  • Joan Soranno, FAIA, Design Principal at HGA Minneapolis
  • Mary Abbe, Art Critic/Writer
  • Craig Amundsen, Public Art Curator, Weisman Art Museum
  • Brad Aldrich, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C/Associate at Confluence

The panel will select participants based on the following criteria:

o   The relationship between the treehouse structure and the tree/environment itself. How well the tree/environment physical location was considered in the total design execution.

o   Innovation in treehouse reimagining. Including but not limited well the space is arranged, functionality of the space, material consideration and how the treehouse visually engages visitors.

o   Accessibility for adults/children.

Arboretum Publicity and Promotion:

Each selected participant will be highlighted in exhibit publicity and Arboretum social media, exhibit brochures and signage.

People's Choice Award:

Throughout the summer exhibit visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite treehouse. Visitors will vote May 27th- September 18th, votes will be tallied and the winner will be announced at the Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday, September30th. The winner of the People's Choice Award will win a 1-year membership (up to 10 participants per team) to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and a feature spread in the Arboretum Magazine and website.