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Leeds Transforms Trees into Living Art with 'The Trees Are Alive' Installation

Leeds Transforms Trees into Living Art with 'The Trees Are Alive' Installation May, 17 2024

Leeds Transforms Trees into Living Art with 'The Trees Are Alive' Installation

As the summer sun begins to shine over Leeds, a unique art installation is set to capture the imagination of residents and visitors alike. Titled 'The Trees Are Alive,' this transformative project by artist Joe Mason will see 53 trees across three key city center locations—City Square, Albion Place, and Queen Square—adorned with over 100 intricate artworks. This captivating endeavor aims to breathe new life into the urban environment, making it both a feast for the eyes and a prompt for deeper appreciation of nature within the city.

The installation will officially launch on May 22 and will remain throughout the summer, inviting passersby to observe and engage with the whimsical and thought-provoking artworks. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which supports local investments and initiatives to enhance community pride and life opportunities, has provided funding for this project. This particular fund is part of the UK government’s broader Levelling Up agenda, dedicated to equalizing opportunities across different regions of the country.

The Artistic Vision Behind 'The Trees Are Alive'

Joe Mason, the creative mind behind this artistic endeavor, has masterfully crafted a series of artworks featuring eyes, mouths, teeth, and abstract shapes to adorn the trees. The installation taps into the universal human instinct to find patterns and faces in the world around us, a phenomenon known as pareidolia, which has fascinated psychologists for years. By decorating the trees in this manner, Mason aims to encourage viewers to interact with the natural world in a novel way, evoking curiosity and wonder.

Mason’s work is not just about beautifying the urban landscape, but also about promoting mindfulness and a deeper connection with the environment. In an age where urbanization often results in the loss of green spaces, 'The Trees Are Alive' offers a refreshing reminder of the natural beauty that can coexist with urban development. As people traverse through the city center, they are prompted to slow down, take notice, and appreciate the living art gallery that surrounds them.

Community Engagement and Workshop

In addition to beautifying the city, the installation also seeks to engage the community, particularly its younger members. On August 7, Joe Mason will host a special workshop for children, where participants will have the opportunity to create their own tree characters. This workshop aims to inspire creativity and provide a hands-on experience that connects children with art and nature. It’s a unique chance for young minds to explore their artistic abilities and develop a tangible connection with the local environment.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council's deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture, and education, has praised the installation. He sees it as a fantastic way to infuse more play and imagination into the city center, aligning with Leeds’ broader goal of being the best place for children to grow up. Pryor's enthusiastic support underscores the city’s commitment to fostering a vibrant, engaging, and inclusive urban space.

A Broader Impact on Leeds

The 'The Trees Are Alive' installation is more than just an artistic embellishment; it is part of a broader movement to enhance the quality of urban life. The funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund underscores the significant impact such projects can have on local communities. With a pledge of £2.6 billion for local investment by March 2025, the Fund is a crucial element of the government’s strategy to promote regional economic growth and social well-being.

For residents and visitors of Leeds, this means more than just an eye-catching display. It is a reflection of the city's dedication to enriching public spaces, fostering community engagement, and promoting a unified vision of growth and development. In a world where digital distractions are ever-present, initiatives like 'The Trees Are Alive' serve as a vital reminder of the beauty and importance of the natural world.

Key Information Details
Project Launch May 22
Locations City Square, Albion Place, Queen Square
Number of Trees Adorned 53
Number of Artworks 100+
Funding Source UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Children's Workshop August 7


The arrival of 'The Trees Are Alive' promises to be a highlight of this summer in Leeds. This art installation is not just an aesthetic enhancement but also a powerful community engagement tool. By merging creativity with nature, Joe Mason’s project invites us all to take a moment to look closer and perhaps see the world around us a little differently. With the collective effort of local authorities, artists, and the community, Leeds continues to blossom as a city where imagination and growth go hand in hand. As the trees come alive this summer, so does the spirit of Leeds.

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