YARMOUTH – The majestic elm tree known as Herbie succumbed to the ravages of Dutch elm disease this past winter. But Herbie’s legacy lives on.

A group of artists from Yarmouth has kept the memory of the 217-year-old elm alive with an exhibition, “Majesty of Trees,” at Merrill Memorial Library.

The exhibition includes two distinct elements. The first is an installation hanging from the ceiling of a reading room. About 100 yards of sateen fabric, donated by Cuddledown, drapes from the ceiling.

Local artist Larry Lindgren adorned the fabric with ink prints inspired by Herbie. With the installation hanging low, it feels somewhat like a forest.

Among the seams in the fabric hang almost 650 pod shapes. They resemble the seedlings that fall from elm trees each spring. The pods offer a sense of regeneration, and suggest Herbie’s legacy will endure. The winged seeds are part of a tree’s self-preservation. Sickened elms produce an abundance of seeds, which are light and travel easily in the wind.

The installation celebrates the natural phenomenon, said Mardie Weldon, who helped organize the exhibition.

Almost two dozen people from across the community contributed to the creation of the installation, from students in local schools to residents at the Bay Square assisted living complex. Their efforts involved sewing, cutting, ironing and other tasks.

Across the hall in another reading room, 40 local artists have covered the walls with mostly two-dimensional pieces that depict trees and the natural wonder of the local environment. Some artists answered the call literally, and offered images — paintings, mostly — of Herbie. Others simply depicted other trees or created pieces inspired by trees.

One of the most charming pieces in the show is a photograph by Susan Jensen of a young boy staring skyward at a tree, with wonder in his eyes and on his face. Jensen titled her photograph “Awe.”

Cynthia Asherman, who is also showing work at 317 Main Street, has a painting titled “Anniversary Birches,” showing a stand of trees facing off against the elements. Joe Klofas is showing a graphite drawing of a white pine, and Cornelia Walworth has a collage of trees.

“Majesty of Trees” will remain on view through Nov. 13. The library show serves as a lead-in to the culmination of the Herbie Project, a fundraiser for Yarmouth’s Tree Trust. The trust replaces diseased trees with disease-resistant and other types of trees. For the project, regional artists have created works with wood from Herbie that will be auctioned from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 13 at Delorme Map, off U.S. Route 1 in Yarmouth.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]