The environmental sculpture known as Caelum Moor has a long
history in Arlington, Texas. The 5-acre work of art, created by
sculptor Norm Hines, Professor of Art at Pomona College in
Claremont, California, includes five groups of granite monuments set
in a landscape. The sculpture is designed to provide an attractive
and engaging environment for the public - a place to gather, to
observe and reflect, to be refreshed, to enjoy the blending of
nature and art.
Norm Hines was a professor of art at Pomona College in
Claremont, California, in 1984 when he was commissioned by Jane Mathes Kelton to create the environmental work of art that
came to be known as Caelum Moor. Kelton was a resident of
Arlington and the CEO of the Kelton Mathes Development
Corporation. The sculpture was originally designed as the
centerpiece of The Highlands development in south Arlington and it
was completed and dedicated in 1986. Caelum Moor was named and
designed with reference to megalithic monuments. Kelton, whose
ancestry was Scottish and who was drawn to the ancient sites found
throughout the British Isles, made the Scottish design request in
her commission of the artwork.
The Caelum Moor commission took two years to complete and
cost $1.5 million to construct. The completed work of art,
which included a park that Hines also designed, was later
appraised at more than $3 million. The sculpture is
comprised of five individual groups of stones, each with its
own Celtic name within a landscaped setting.
The name “Caelum” is derived from a constellation in the southern
skies known as the “sculptor's tool”. “Moor” refers to the windswept
landscapes common to ancient sites. The Celtic titles of each of the
five granite monuments - Tolmen Barrow, Tan Tara, Morna Linn, Sarsen
Caer and De'Danaan - further reflect the Scottish heritage.
The stone monuments ranging in height from 8 to 30 feet, and weighing
a total of more than 540 tons, have however no celestial
the stone groups are reminiscent of the forms of ancient monoliths,
they diverge in important ways. Each group is unique, offering
carved details designed to encourage visitors to approach and engage
the polished surfaces. Tolmen Barrow, for instance, has a hole cut
through its central stone. On the inner surfaces of Tan Tara, two
polished, concave, circles produce the effect of an echo chamber.
Morna Linn incorporates water, adding the element of sound to a
contemplative environment. Throughout the sculpture, there are
abstract patterns, carved and polished, that can be explored with
the fingers as well as the eyes.
From 1986 to 1997, Caelum Moor was located at the headwaters
of Johnson Creek along Interstate 20 in south Arlington. For
more than a decade, Caelum Moor served as a popular
gathering place for individuals and families, and as the
site of major public events such as the Highland Games. In
1997, the land occupied by the sculpture was sold for
redevelopment. As a result, the 22 stones comprising the
five monuments were donated to the City of Arlington by
WindStar Properties. For the next 12 years, the stones were
stored at the Pierce Burch Water Treatment Facility.
In 2009, thanks to revenue generated from the Tax Increment
Reinvestment Zone, Caelum Moor was reinstalled in Richard Greene
Linear Park in a new configuration designed by the sculpture artist,
Norm Hines. With its relocation in north Arlington, Caelum Moor once
again have the opportunity to provide an attractive and engaging
environment for the public to gather, to observe and reflect, to be
refreshed and to enjoy the blending of nature and art. Read
the press release
first piece is called Tolmen Barrow. All of the Caelum Moor pieces
have a Celtic-inspired name because the person who commissioned the
artwork in 1984, Jane Mathes Kelton, was of Scottish heritage, and
wanted the art to reflect Celtic history. The artist, Norm Hines,
studied the ancient stone groupings in Great Britain called
megalithic monuments for inspiration.
Tolmen means hole stone, literally, a stone with a hole. There
are many famous tolmens in Great Britain. It was once believed a
person who passed through the hole of a tolmen would be healed of
illness or purified. Barrow is a term sometimes used in Britain to
mean mountain or hill, but it also refers to a sacred site like a
burial mound. The ribbon symbol carved here suggests the concept
that there is no beginning and no end to anything in life. It also
resembles the symbol called triquetra. The triquetra appears in many
religions. In Christian symbology it stands for the Holy Trinity,
but it can also refer to life, death and rebirth – the cycle of
life; earth, air and water – the elements of nature; maiden, mother
and crone. Feel free to touch the stones and trace your fingers over
the Celtic symbols carved on some of the pieces. The pathways that
weave around the sculptures are meant to encourage you to discover
the pieces, to contemplate them up close. They are not meant to be
viewed from afar.
This sculpture also has signatures etched on the foundation under
the stones – those of the current City of Arlington council members
and staff who signed it when it was re-installed in June of 2009.
Walk south towards the street and follow the sidewalk along
Randol Mill Road to the next grouping.
Tara is the tallest of the five structures and stands at 34 feet.
No, it is not named for Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation. Tara is the
name the ancient Celts gave the home of their gods, and tan means
fire. Tan Tara is a natural echo chamber where only the person
standing between the pillars can hear the echo. The concave circles
that make the echo possible may also refer to the idea of eternity,
because a circle has no beginning and no end. Tan Tara also has a
rope pattern that you’ll see carved in other pieces in Caelum Moor,
as if the pieces are tied together.
At this point you get a great view of Arlington’s AT&T
Stadium. It is the world’s largest enclosed NFL stadium. It can hold
80,000 to 100,000 people, depending on the seating configuration. It
officially opened on June 6, 2009, with a concert by George Strait.
The retractable roof, the largest of its kind in the world at
660,800 square feet, is meant to remind fans of the unique open roof
of the Cowboys former home in Irving. The final cost to build the
stadium was over $1 billion. The Dallas Cowboys are the country’s
most-watched NFL team and the second most profitable professional
sports franchise in the world, second only to England’s Manchester
United Football (soccer) Club.
Walk west on Randol Mill towards the AT&T Stadium. Turn right
before the bridge to follow the path along the creek to the next
three freestanding stones set in a triangular pattern are De’Danaan.
De’Danann refers to the Tuatha De’ Danann, the people of the Goddess
Danu, one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland according to Celtic
mythology. In popular legend, they have been linked to the numerous
fairies rumored to inhabit the Irish landscape. There is a labyrinth
carved on the inside of each stone. Labyrinths are symbols in many
ancient cultures, but they are most often associated with
meditation, which contributes to the artist’s intent to create a
place for reflection.
Caelum Moor originally was installed at the headwaters of Johnson
Creek near I-20 and Matlock where Lowe’s is located today. Jane
Mathes Kelton, who commissioned the artwork, intended to build an
office park in that area. In designing Caelum Moor, Norm Hines, who
was an art teacher at Pomona College in California, intended to
create a “quiet, meditative space adjacent to what was to be a busy
hub, a place where people could relax, wander, explore and have some
contact with nature.” In this new location, the same theory applies.
Caelum Moor is a respite from the activity of the Entertainment
The waterway you’re standing along is called Johnson Creek. The
park around it is Richard Greene Linear Park. It’s called a linear
park because it is much longer than it is wide and uses public land
along the creek. The park features a 1.35 mile lighted trail loop, a
pedestrian bridge and more than 2,000 trees, 1,500 shrubs and 15,000
native plants. The park, named for Arlington’s mayor from 1987 to
1997, and Caelum Moor are part of a larger project, authorized by
Congress, for the environmental restoration, flood control and
erosion protection of the Johnson Creek water shed.
Continue along the path to the next grouping.
piece, Sarsen Caer, is lit up from the bottom at night. Sarsen is
the name of the sandstone blocks found throughout southern England,
including Stonehenge. Caer means castle or fortress in the Welsh
language. This one also has the rope pattern that we already saw on
Tan Tara. Although Caelum Moor probably reminds you of Stonehenge,
the artist has said it is in no way intended to be a reflection or
recreation of the ancient site. It does not represent a
constellation and has no religious overtones whatsoever. The stones
are made of granite, and unlike the granite you pick out for your
kitchen counters, Hines looked for pieces with varying color and
imperfections to reflect the imperfection of man. He then used a
blowtorch to give the finished stones a weathered look.
Walk towards the pond.
The pond you see in front of you is called Holtz Pond. It is
named for former Texas Rangers announcer Mark Holtz. The Texas
Rangers were formed in 1972 when the Washington Senators moved from
D.C. They played in a former minor league stadium adjacent to the
Arlington Convention Center until 1994, when the Rangers Ballpark in
Arlington opened with 49,115 seats.
Mayor Richard Greene was instrumental in developing a
public-private partnership with the Texas Rangers Baseball Club that
resulted in the new Rangers Stadium. The Ballpark at Arlington cost
$191 million to build and included additional features such as a
baseball museum, a children’s learning center, a four-story office
building, a youth baseball park, and a 12-acre lake. The Ballpark is
one of the hottest baseball fields in the major league, which is one
of the reasons all their games are played at night between May and
Walk to the stone seating area facing of the pond.
waterfall sculpture in Holtz Pond is Morna Linn. It is also lit up
at night. Morna means beloved, and Linn means waterfall. In order to
install it in the lake, a temporary peninsula was built out to the
point where Morna Linn stands and then removed after installation.
At the bottom of the sculpture the initials R.G. are carved in the
granite, put there by former mayor Richard Greene. His wife, Sylvia,
was a member of a group called the Arlington Foundation for the Arts
during the time the sculptures were being carved. This group
traveled to Marble Falls to see the progress of the work, and Hines
let them use his tools to carve their initials in the piece. The
link between technology and nature extended even to the production
of the sculptures, which were made from natural materials and took a
natural shape, but were created with power tools.
Caelum Moor was at its original location in south Arlington from
1986 to 1997. The first Arlington Scottish Games were held there
before being relocated to UTA. However, the office park that was
supposed to be built around it never materialized. The land was sold
and the artwork was donated to the City. However, the high cost of
moving the pieces - just short of $1,000,000 - meant they have been
in storage since then. The relocation and installation to Richard
Greene Linear Park was made possible thanks to monetary donations
and revenue generated from a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. Norm
Hines also contributed to the new park design and placement of the
The new location, if not exactly to Hines’ original idea, still
fulfills the original intention. Hines wanted to create art that
symbolizes man’s connection with the universe and to connect the
past with the technological future – to remind us of earth when
we’re surrounded by steel and glass. Now that it sits in the shadow
of the thoroughly modern AT&T Stadium, it certainly serves the
same purpose. The living humanistic form of the sculpture juxtaposed
with the high-tech structures around it creates a reflective
atmosphere. Hines said in a documentary about Caelum Moor that
“People cannot live in technology alone. The soul cries out for
something that touches you more deeply.”
You are encouraged to sit and view Morna Linn for a few moments.