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Hmmm. March 1. I don’t know you can call today “coming in like a lamb,” nor do I really see it as “coming in like a lion.” After all, 30s and some snow aren’t so freakish for March 1. But it is hardly sunny and 40s either. Maybe it doesn’t really matter what March comes in as. Maybe what really matters is that March comes. The weather may not sing “SPRING” but the calendar does a little trickery on the mind and I believe it is spring (despite three more weeks of official winter). There’s just something about March arriving that says you’ve made it. You survived another winter. You didn’t get put out on the ice floe. Wolves didn’t chew through the front door and drag you to their den for a January dinner date. Little things like that.

March is also the time of year when I am most likely to start losing plants that I am overwintering in my office. They’ve been here since late October, held on through November, December, January and February, but now are almost screaming “I can’t freaking take it anymore!” They work so hard to make it on limited light and my lackluster watering schedule. Eventually some of them simply say to hell with it. And that is okay. Actually they look better than usual this year. Don’t know I can say the same about the ones in my basement at home. I tend to throw the poor things down there and shut the door, only taking a cursory glance when I’m forced to go to the basement for something else. I’m a bad horticulturist. I should probably be spanked. But the majority of the plants usually make it and before you know it REAL spring is here and they and I almost break into song.

Despite my dislike of winter this year……. Okay. I know. At some point I dislike winter every year. But this year I knew early I would not like it, and despite fairly mild weather, it has felt bitter cold. Let’s start again.

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Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Horticulture


Changing of the Seasons

The start of fall always seems to creep up with early sunsets, cool nights, and the changing of the leaves. One of my recent photo assignments here at the IMA was to document the Fall Equinox: Hungry Ghost event.  I knew there would be great photo opportunities because of the beautiful weather and long evening shadows. This year’s activities included lantern making and music by members of Butler University’s Orchestra. The musicians played their instruments while in canoes and on the land surrounding the lake in 100 Acres.

As the sunlight faded, the music started and the lanterns were lit. The large crowd gathered on the south side of the lake to watch the lanterns be released. Some had messages written on them to honor a “ghost” such as, “We miss you Grandpa,” while others were decorated with colorful illustrations. I documented this animated GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)as the lanterns were being launched into the blue night.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Photography, Public Programs


Creating an Outdoor Performance

Today’s guest blogger is New York-based artist and choreographer Rebecca Davis, who created a performance this summer in 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.

Creating a one-hour work of art in a large outdoor setting for an unknown-sized audience was quite a challenge.  What could I create that wouldn’t be swallowed up by the scale of the setting?  How could I keep an audience interested for that length of time without the focus that comes with presenting a work in a theater?

Several months and ideas later, I decided to create a sculpture and drawing in performance that would leave a tactile and visual record of its own making.

To create the sculpture, we used the audience and the surrounding trees as our loom. We wended our way over, under, and around them as our white hand-knit dresses unraveled into an increasingly large and complex web.

I used chalk, typically used to mark large fields like the meadow for sporting events, to create the drawing.  The idea was to create constellations whose shape would be determined by connecting audience members to one another. Most of the audience took cover in the shade rather than on the perimeter as I had hoped, making the constellation drawings difficult to render.  The parched grass also made the chalk lines nearly invisible.

This performance was a reminder of the medium’s vulnerability. Certain variables can only be worked out in performance, which is both thrilling and terrifying. The unknown is multiplied when the work calls for audience participation. One never knows if people will participate and how. I would like to thank all of the viewers who stood in the blazing sun for an hour to participate, and to Lisa Freiman and everyone at the IMA for this wonderful challenge.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Contemporary


Indigenous Hexes

Now that the season is drawing to a close, we can take a look back and see where The Artist has been spending his time this summer thanks to the Arduino geekery that Kris wrote about earlier. I’m going to fill you in on what happens to the data that he collected to create the visual representation that you see on the map.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Technology


Saturdays at the Park

What do a biology professor, hula hoops, and a one-eyed hawk named Jack all have in common? Nothing, really— except that they have each been featured during the first three Saturdays at the Park programs in 100 Acres this season. I see that quizzical look on your face, and I hear your question… Why, yes, I do have super powers to see and hear through the internet… Oh, that question… “What in the world is going on at the IMA?”

I’m glad you asked.

Mark Booth and Jack. Take Flight! Wildlife Education.

Saturdays at the Park were born out of a desire to encourage people, young and old, to explore 100 Acres in ways that they may not have previously considered. We call them “interactive park adventure(s)”—not only because our activities try to engage visitors’ senses, but also because this fabulous space inspires interaction all on its own.

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Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Education, Public Programs


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