By Brian Cruey
Gardens and art have long been great traditions here in the Berkshires. While many would argue that gardening is an art form all its own (I’m one of them!) it’s not uncommon for gardening and art to work together, creating a marriage of experiences that have long inspired and complimented each other.
In fact many of the gardens here in the Berkshire region go to great lengths to include art exhibits in their gardens as part of their seasonal offerings. Do you have a group that wants a garden focus or one that wants an art focus? Well why not combine them and come to the Berkshires.
Many local garden venues have new exhibits year after year not only giving new artists an opportunity to display their talents, but also allowing gardens to draw more diverse crowds and create an ever changing experience for repeat and new visitors. The garden itself is always a work in progress and viewing art in these incredible outdoor spaces can give incredible new perspective to a piece. We are sure your group will not be disappointed in all of the variety available in region.
This year in 2014, our local gardens are offering more art than ever. For example, the Berkshire Botanical Garden will continue their celebration of the elements this year with “Wind Chimes, Whirly gigs and Weathervanes: Objects inspired by the Wind.” The show will be curated by Greg and Natalie Randall of R.T. Facts in Kent, CT, who were responsible for the very successful armillaries and sundial exhibit the Garden hosted in 2011.
Last year in partnership with SculptureNow, The Mount ran their outdoor art exhibit CONFLUENCE and has announced that they will be welcoming SculptureNow back in 2014. With big names like George Rickey, Jonathan Prince, Tim Prentice, and Richard Erdman, CONFLUENCE featured large scale works spread throughout the beautiful grounds of Edith Wharton’s home. It was a prime example of how art can change a famous and familiar landscape like The Mount into an entirely new experience and everyone is excited to see what this well thought out exhibit has in store for 2014.
Gardens have been inspiring art for centuries and we are lucky to have the studio and gardens of America’s foremost public sculptor right here in Berkshire County. At Chesterwood, you get a glimpse into the genius of David Chester French, the designer and sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial. Part studio, part country home, part garden, Chesterwood has hosted over 500 emerging and established sculptors at Chesterwood since 1978, including well-known artists such as, Sol LeWitt, Richard Stankiewicz and Glenda Goodacre, representing one of the earliest venues in this country to showcase large-scale abstract, conceptual and figurative works in an outdoor setting. Chesterwood’s annual sculpture exhibition commemorates French’s distinguished life and career and provides an important showcase for contemporary American sculptors. You simply can’t have a discussion about art in the garden without talking about Chesterwood.
Garden and art are similar in that they come in all shapes and sizes, skill levels and styles and all of the gardens in the Berkshires a group friendly and offer customized tours. Let the Berkshires and its famous gardens inspire your next itinerary.
Brian Cruey is the Communications Director for Berkshire Botanical Garden. An avid gardener, writer and pontoon boat enthusiast, he proudly resides in Otis, MA with his partner, dogs and chickens.