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A Modern Romance

Columbus, Indiana is home to some of modernism’s greatest works, including the IMA’s Eero Saarinen designed Miller House. Recently I had the privilege of venturing off the grounds of Miller House for a special tour of Columbus’ veritable treasure trove of architectural gems. It’s mecca for modernism.

Miller House

I was moved by I.M. Pei‘s sleek lines. Seduced by Eames‘ furniture design. Amazed by Harry Weese‘s understanding of light. But in all this courtship, something unexpected happened. An unmistakable tug at my heart strings and a tummy full of butterflies. I fell madly in love with landscape architect Dan Kiley. Well, to be exact, I fell in love with his landscape architecting skills.

Kiley knew the landscape a structure sits on is just as important as the structure itself. It’s a balanced, complementing relationship. A gentle dance across a crowded floor. Swoon.

I wandered through Kiley’s shaded clean grid patterns, well-trimmed shrubs and meticulously placed trees. All were in linear harmony with the horizontal and vertical lines of the structures at their center.

Kiley's work outside Saarinen's North Christian Church

I know what you’re thinking: “He’s so not your type!” Those who know me are aware “linear” and “well-trimmed” are rarely associated with my aesthetic approach. I’m more of an asymmetrical, scruffy and slightly overgrown kinda gal. So what was it about Kiley that stole my heart?

Mark Zelonis captured it in this post detailing the reverent experience he and Ed Blake (landscape architect for the IMA’s 100 Acres) shared while visiting the Miller House garden, designed by none other than my new beau, Dan.

Ed first witnessed the site decades ago while on a work assignment in Columbus. He was then only able to peek through the already tall arborvitae hedges guarding the property’s east side, but knew the place was indeed very special. After all, one of the 20th century’s masters of landscape design, Dan Kiley, had worked his magic here. For all of us in the field, this is a place for reverence.

Miller House garden

Columbus is adorned with Kiley landscapes, both public and private. Perhaps the most cherished are the grounds surrounding North Christian Church, the last building architect Eero Saarinen designed before his death in 1961. It is the last of three buildings in Columbus that Saarinen and Kiley worked on together. The building is woven into the fabric of the site like a fine Girard textile. I was lost, and found there. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Design, Horticulture, Local, Musings, Travel


Teens in the Museum: Alberto

The IMA MAP employs high school sophomores and juniors during the spring and summer to explore what’s happening behind the scenes of the IMA, while working on projects alongside Museum staff. This year, the MAP teens are learning about 100 Acres, its inaugural artists and planning creative experiences that will encourage Park visitors to engage with nature, art and with one another.

Hi, my name is Alberto Argueta and I am one of six people in the IMA MAP Program. I’m Mexican American and from Chicago, Illinois and now live in Indiana. Being a part of the MAP Program at the Museum has been fun and I hope to get and give a lot to the program.

Art has always been something I’ve liked to do and see, so this is a big opportunity for me. One of the projects we were given was to partner up and go to the 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, and basically find a spot and do whatever you were inspired to do.

Jakob and I made a small map and built this small house out of sticks and leaves. We took nature and embraced it. I had a lot of fun and hope there will be more where that came from. PEACE.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Education


Bird Watching in 100 Acres

While working in the 100 Acres Art & Nature Park a couple of weeks ago to get it ready for the opening, I spotted a Scarlet Tanager:

Scarlet Tanager

(image via dave.lipper)

Of course, covered in mulch and mud and shovel in hand, I had no chance to whip out the camera and snap a shot. So, thank you Dave Lipper for this picture! Nonetheless, I stopped digging for the moment to enjoy the handsome fellow.

There are so many more beautiful birds in our 100 Acres. IMA’s photographer, Tad Fruits caught this Pileated Woodpecker in flight.

And this Blue Heron seems to have taken up residence along the banks of the lake.

What I would suggest to every visitor to the park is to sit a spell in Alfredo Jaar’s Park of the Laments (or anywhere for that matter!) and just listen. Listen to the different songs of our feathered friends. Maybe too, you’ll see a flash of color for an Oriole or Indigo Bunting!

Indigo Bunting (via Nature Nook)

Baltimore Oriole (via Harrier)

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Horticulture


Layers Design Battle Vol 1 Update

We started with this photo from 100 Acres.

Well, we got off to a late start but all of the volleys are in! If you remember, I originally posted about design collaboration and summed the way Layers Tennis works. I got some interest from local designers on twitter and we announced the battle in a follow up post here.

So now that you are caught up… I present you with the first 4 design volleys.


Nathan’s First Serve (click the image for larger view):

As soon as I saw this photo it took me back to the days of playing Let's Pretend, with my younger brother. With a little creativity we always managed to transport ourselves to places where adventure could be found. Looking back on those experiences it was obvious that I needed to illustrate a landscape that could have been fashioned from nothing more than our own imaginations. I had to restrain from overworking this piece, though. I wanted to leave it fairly open so the other designers could add elements from their own memory banks. I'm really hoping to see some pirate ships moving over the horizon or perhaps an octopus tentacle reaching up from out of the water.

Aaron’s Volley (click the image for larger view):

When Nathan told me that his first volley was going to be floating water and a concept of imagination my thought process went immediately to pirates. I love doodling and when those doodles fit into a design concept, it's blast. And isn't that what Creativity and Imagination are all about!?

My Volley (click the image for larger view):

When I saw pirates, I knew they would be part of what I wanted to do but wanted to continue to push the imagination theme. So finally it hit me, Space Pirates! I love doodling too so I added a few minor doodles and also flipped the colors.

J.M.’s Volley (click the image for larger view):

Looking at all the volleys i knew there was nothing more illustrative that I could add. I really wanted to find a way to bring the girls into the action. With the pirates and the space pirates closing in I thought it was time for the girls to catch a ride to their next adventure. That quote about imagination is by Jules de Gautier.

Filed under: Art, Design, New Media, Technology


Me + Pee-wee

I bet you didn’t know this, but Pee-wee Herman and I have a lot in common.

Peewee’s Big Adventure was made in 1985. I was born in 1985.

We both have signature fashion accessories:

Him: red bowtie

Me: roller skates

We both like Cyndi Lauper. (The show’s theme song is by Cyndi Lauper. But she was credited as Ellen Shaw.)

Okay. So. We don’t actually have anything in common. But I could dress up like him if I wanted to. For, you know, fun. And so can you. On June 25, we’re showing PeeWee’s Big Adventure as part of our Summer Night’s Film Series outdoors at the IMA, and we’re encouraging everybody to come in dressed as their favorite PeeWee character.

To get your mouths watering, we decided to hop around the museum and snap some “look-kinda-alike” photos of our very own IMA staffers. (Click here to see the full Flickr set)

Heh. Let’s just say some were more willing than others.

Rob Stein, CIO

So tonight: “Get outta bed, there’ll be no more nappin’! ‘Cause you’ve landed in a place where anything can happen.” Oh, and don’t forget your red bowtie.

Filed under: Current Events, Local, Public Programs


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