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In honor of the life of Aaron Howard and the many artistic contributions he made to our community, the Madison Arts Commission is sponsoring the temporary illumination of CommuniTree in the 600 block of Williamson Street. Howard, an artist, blacksmith, and extraordinary craftsman, created CommuniTree with his wife, artist Erika Koivunen in 2014.

“Aaron was a one of a kind, multi-talented artist, engineer, and all around super good guy. He will be greatly missed in the Madison arts community.” Said Sharon Kilfoy of the Williamson Street Art Center. She added, “The Williamson Street neighborhood and all of Madison is thrilled to have lights shining upon this great gift from Aaron and Erika.” Kilfoy worked with Scott Thornton and the Marquette Neighborhood Association to commission CommuniTree as a welcoming gateway to the Williamson Street neighborhood.

Aaron contributed many metal pieces throughout Madison, prominently at the Madison Children’s Museum where Aaron had a hand in most of the metalwork there, from the Hodge Podge Mahal: a two-story climber, the Stair Trek Zip, Zap, Zoom: a five-story climber, Urb garden tree, to the spiral staircase in MCM's new outdoor Wonderground.

This lighting  memorial could not have been pulled off on such a short timeline without the effort of artist and electrician Christopher Murphy. He stated,“It was a personal thing for me. I have wanted to see it lit up since it was installed in 2014. The lighting really makes it comes to life,” Christopher Murphy, who is a master electrician, spent hours over the last few weeks to quickly mobilize other friends of Aaron's who designed the lighting, coordinated with City staff, secured permits and permissions, and installed the lighting so that the tribute would be in place prior to the artist’s celebration of life on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at the Madison Children’s Museum.

CommuniTree will be illuminated nightly from 7pm to midnight beginneing October 20, 2021.