Gardens as Haven: Reflections Through Botanical Art & Illustration
As Denver Botanic Gardens opens its doors to welcome its visitors back, I have received so many heartwarming messages about how the Gardens’ spaces bring joy to people. It truly makes me happy to be part of a team that has been constantly working to make the Gardens a safe space for all. Gardening has now become a hobby for many, including myself, as a bountiful harvest of vegetables and the sweet scent of flowers from the backyard garden usher in peace and positivity. Amid these stressful and anxious times, I am thankful for garden spaces around me that provide a safe environment to refresh my mind after being in my apartment all day.
Gardens have long been considered places of healing and solace. Blooming flowers, chirping birds and trees swaying to the tune of the breeze offer a calm moment for reflection in such rapidly changing times. In the Exhibitions, Art and Learning Engagement Department, we recognize the transformative role that gardens play in all our lives. So, in honor of Denver Botanic Gardens’ School of Botanical Art and Illustration’s (SBAI) 40th anniversary, we are presenting a special juried exhibition titled Garden & Haven: Botanical Art and Illustration. The exhibition features artworks by graduates and students of the SBAI program responding to the idea of gardens as centers of refuge.
As I sit at home and look at the works illustrating the artists’ favorite flowers, fruits, vegetables, birds, insects and even different gardens within the Gardens, I am reminded of my own cherished memories in the natural world. I think back to those evening strolls when pretty blossoms by the sidewalks made me happy. Just like me, I hope that when you see the artworks, you will pause, relax and recollect the times when being in nature brought you sheer happiness.
Randy Raak, Spring Snow at Denver Botanic Gardens, casein, 2020.
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