Tree of Knowledge - CODAworx

Tree of Knowledge

Submitted by Lennon Michalski

Client: University of Kentucky Honors College

Location: Lexington, KY, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $25,000

Project Team


Lennon Michalski


Christian Brady

University of Kentucky Honors College


The painting is water based pigment and medium on canvas 60″ x 84″ in scale.


The painting represents the importance of discovery, exploration, and a well-rounded academic experience, with all of these ideas culminating in a cohesive Tree of Knowledge. In the middle of the painting is a book with three prominent words of motivation; purpose, intellect, and integrity, and on both sides of the painting are open hands that represent guidance, understanding, and direction, with "Tree of Knowledge" written in hebrew on trunk of the tree. Various other symbols can be found throughout the painting that support the idea that through the exploration of diversified educational outlets comes a more holistic, and intentional academic experience. The piece mimics the general design of the medallion, as it incorporated the same image of the “Tree of Knowledge” and the words of motivation. In the painting, I had the opportunity to more concretely define the idea of knowledge, and education through the incorporation of various academic, historic, and artistic symbols. The symbols found throughout the piece are meant to represent various topics of study, as a holistic definition of academia. I greatly enjoyed creating this piece, and feel that each symbol hidden in every layer of paint speaks to the importance of education, drive, and academic investigation.


Creation of projects like these is a collaborative process with the people who inhabit the space and the visitors who will be interacting with the art. This not only involves working closely with those who manage the space in a physical sense (engineers and architects) but also, for instance, a collaboration with the doctors and patients of the University of Kentucky Pediatric Oncology Center, for whom I created six large pieces that told a story based in whimsical and fantastic imagery, allowing both children and adults a chance to journey out of the everyday, as far as their minds could take them.