In Your MN Backyard: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, part 2: Art in the Garden

Nov 30, 2023 | 0 comments

By Dana Botz, Minnesota Guide

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (The Arboretum) is world-renowned for woody plant and fruit breeding research programs, but it is worth noting that the Arboretum Art is “the perfect intersection of art and nature with over 100 works of art plus nature-based art galleries and shows year-round” (https://arb.umn.edu/art).  

Gabion Glass Accent Hedge

Art Abounds

The Arboretum has three indoor, rotating exhibitions and outdoor collections along Three-Mile Drive, and in the Harrison Sculpture Garden. You can access more information on each sculpture at the Arboretum at https://arb.umn.edu/art/sculptures. The indoor rotating exhibits are nature-based and are generally for sale, benefitting both the Arboretum and the artist.

Outdoor Exhibits

The outdoor permanent exhibits are scattered throughout the grounds, but grouped into three categories. The first category is the Dakota Sacred Hoop Walk. This installation connects the visitor with digital images and audio to honor and educate on Dakota history, culture and the significance of the land through art and storytelling (https://arb.umn.edu/SacredHoopWalk).

The Harrison Sculpture Garden

The next outdoor exhibit is the Harrison Sculpture Garden, which was donated by Ingrid Lenz Harrison and Alfred Harrison. They built this gift during their marriage and it includes works by artists from around the world. The pieces were selected by the Harrison’s, often after meeting the individual artists. One reason given for the donation, stated by Ingrid Lenz Harrison, “when we’re gone and the kids or grandchildren come back to visit, they know where they can find us” (https://www.minnesotamonthly.com/lifestyle/art-unleashed/).

The Harrison Sculpture Garden includes twenty-six sculptures. There is one sculpture in the collection created by a local artist, Paul Granlund, titled Swimmers. The other sculptures were created by artists from locations such as Great Britain, Switzerland, France, Italy and Argentina. Some of the sculptures are very modern and open to interpretation, while others are literal.

Other Sculptures

There are other sculptures at the Arboretum, not provided in the Harrison Sculpture Garden gift. The sculptures are scattered throughout the grounds. They are located in the Annual Garden, on the Bog Trail, the Herb Gardens, the Home Demo Gardens, the Hosta Glade, Japanese Garden, Meyer-Deats Conservatory, Oswald Visitor Center, Perennial Garden, Rose Walk, Sensory Garden, Shrub Rose Garden, Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Center, the Terrace Garden, Three Mile Drive, Waterfall, and the Wildflower Garden.

Art Classes

In addition to art exhibitions and gardens, the Arboretum offers opportunities for adults and children to encourage and release their inner artist with a variety of art classes. The art classes, ranging from pencil drawings to watercolors to photography and beyond, are a part of the over 20,000 classes offered each year to the public. Art class pricing is dependent on the length of the class and whether the attendee is an Arboretum member or not.

A feast for the senses

Art is seamlessly intertwined with nature at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It is a feast for the senses. Have you ever visited the Arboretum? If so, what was your favorite piece of art? Let me know if you plan to visit in the future and we can make a day of it. See you at the Arb!

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