GODFREY – Visitors to the Monticello Sculpture Gardens at Lewis and Clark Community College this summer will explore the world of fine art through botanicals in this year’s curated garden show, “Budding Masterpieces.”
“This year, we are interpreting works of art in our pocket gardens through plants,” said L&C Horticulturist and Garden Designer Katie Piper. “We are the Monticello Sculpture Gardens and art is in our name – it only seems fitting for us to highlight the beautiful sculptures on campus and note the importance of art in the world around us.”
Each pocket garden will feature a different artist, artwork, or style of art represented through foliage textures and bloom colors.
Areas of note will include the ever-popular Living Wall, which will transport visitors into Andy Warhol’s Factory, while they take in an interpretation of pop art, bursting with color.
The Rivers of Color garden, leading to the Overlook Pond, will be filled with “waterlilies” reminiscent of those featured in Claude Monet’s impressionist paintings.
Nashville (TN) Sculptor and Metalsmith John Medwedeff’s sculpture “Bloom,” located at the north entrance to Wade Hall in the Main Complex, is featured in this year’s logo. One of 14 permanent bronze sculptures on campus, “Bloom” has inspired a tropical foliage fest that will give this year’s visitors and tourists a warm welcome.
The artwork and spaces created by contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama are behind the bright polka-dot filled garden at the entrance to the Hatheway Cultural Center on the west end of campus.
New this year, L&C’s College for Life program for adults with developmental disabilities has its own pocket garden in The Bosque, outside Hatheway. The program’s students learned about, grew and installed their own edible garden there.
“We can't wait for visitors to see the artwork that inspired its design,” Piper said.
L&C has long been a hub for cultural activity in the Riverbend. The college hosts annual art exhibitions featuring students’ work and faculty’s work, and has held curated guest exhibits over the years for renowned artists such as Ed Paschke, Joe Emons, Winifred Godfrey, Dale Threlkeld and Mitchiko Itatani. A few pieces from those shows remain permanent fixtures on the campus.
In addition, the Godfrey Campus features permanent sculptures by artists John Medwedeff, Peter Voulkos, Richard Hunt, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ed McCullough, Hillis Arnold, Michael Dunbar, Peter Fagan, John Edgcomb, Joel Perlman, Glenna Goodacre, Ruth Duckworth, Deborah Butterfield and Stephen De Staebler.
“The sculptures often act as centerpieces for our pocket gardens, so they have always been an important aspect of the Monticello Sculpture Gardens,” said Horticulture Manager Ethan Braasch. “This year, we wanted to put a spotlight on not only the artwork we have here on campus, but on creative works and art history in general. Our intention is to elevate the outdoor spaces that students, college employees and visitors occupy by drawing similitude between garden design, the aesthetics of plant life and other forms of visual art. It is our hope that the ‘Budding Masterpieces’ garden show will help strengthen people’s connection to nature by presenting something that is both familiar and novel at the same time; using green spaces as our canvass and flowers and foliage as our paint.”
The best time to visit will be June through September, when the plants will be established and look their best. Self-guided tours are always welcome, as interpretive panels will soon be installed to guide the way around campus. Again this year, a scavenger hunt will encourage kids to get in on the fun. Maps and scavenger hunt forms will soon be available at Campus Safety, located near the north entrance to campus.
Free, guided group tours will also be available from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tours run about an hour and include a history of the campus and information on the sculptures featured in the gardens. The tour is walking intensive, and covers about 1/3 of a mile, mostly downhill. A golf cart is available upon request on a first-come, first-served basis for guided tours only. To reserve a date and time, contact Braasch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The gardens are supported by generous donations made by private donors and groups including the Village of Godfrey, Joan and Charles Sheppard, Tri-County FS, Inc., Ball Horticultural, Josephine’s, L&C Student Government Association, John Medwedeff, Alton Community Service League, Monticello College Foundation and its alumnae, the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation, Pfund Construction, Dave and Sharon Braasch, Joe and Linda Stevens of Market Basket and Pride, Incorporated. Technical assistance and permanent installations have been provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Godfrey Women’s Club, and the family of Mrs. Peg Schmidt.
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities for the gardens, contact the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation at (618) 468-2011.
The Monticello Sculpture Gardens are a signature garden of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. For more information, visit www.lc.edu/gardens.