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Global art project BLOCH making only stop in North America in North Dakota

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Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Our ancestors carved them, burned them, used them for wheels. 

Now North Dakota is preparing to celebrate, wood.

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It is called BLOCH. An interactive, global art project that is making its one and only stop in North America, right here in North Dakota.

The Swiss Tradition is traveling to every continent.

“We try to be a team.”

Ruth Severson and Larry Longtine are veteran wood carvers.

“Unique, very unique.”

But they never imagined their talents, would show up on a treasured tree trunk.

Larry Longtine/Wood Carver: “Little wheat plants up here.”

"The size of the piece of wood is the biggest thing I ever tackled."

The story starts in Switzerland, where tradition has the Swiss holding an auction for the last Spruce felled for the season. The tree travels to several villages before being sold to the highest bidder. This year, that tree, started a multi continent tour. Europe, Asia and now North America, specifically, North Dakota.

Ruth Severson/Wood Carver: “So we really feel very privileged to be part of it. And it is so exciting.”

The 5700 pound spruce has really put on the miles, From Switzerland to Amsterdam, it went by Ship to New York, train to Minneapolis and then truck to North Dakota.

The tree trunk will travel across North Dakota. Artists will carve, paint, dance and sing around it.

Troyd Geist/ND Council on the Arts: “They had their chance to talk and now it is North America’s turn with the global talking stick, and to convey who they are and what we are to the world.”

Ruth and Larry are carving Prairie Rose and vines on the trunk. And when it arrives back in Fargo later this summer, it will look much different after touring the state.

“Look at that.”

The one and only stop on our continent, before heading out to another part of the world.

Larry: “We understand it will go to South America next.”

The tree, as part of the traveling BLOCH project will also be on display at the Fargo Street Fair and at the Hjemkomst in August.

You will be able to leave messages inside the tree.

The North Dakota Council on the Arts and many other groups help bring the tree trunk here.

For more information on this story click here.

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Kevin Wallevand
Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.
(701) 241-5317
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