Outdoor Education: Art in the Garden

Fan sculpture by William Dwyer for Art in the Garden; photo by Rimas Zailskas.

Pile a few stones by a creek and you have a sculpture for a day — or until a windstorm, a bored hiker, or a nosy bear knocks it down. But teach a bunch of young people to make outdoor sculpture and you’ve crafted possibilities for a lifetime.

That’s the basic thrust behind the county-wide Art in the Garden initiative sponsored by Advocates for the Arts of Henderson County. High-school and community-college students in the region are building yard art out of salvaged materials, competing for honors and even possible professional recognition. (Last year’s ribbon-taker, Marie Lemmond, a student at Blue Ridge Community College, won an art scholarship to a four-year school.)

In an article in Bold Lifes current print edition, three of the project’s stakeholders — metalsmith and Advocates President Marilyn Bailey, BRCC instructor Aaron Bernard, and West Henderson High art teacher Kelly King — talk about what it means for students to get this real-life experience. (https://www.boldlife.com/in-the-elements/)

“Few students have experience in building anything, so this is a great opportunity to teach skills that will make our students more well rounded and capable,” says Kelly. (Sculptures must be at least three feet tall and made of found material.)

Winning projects are displayed in gardens in Henderson County and opened for a public tour.

“It’s a rare opportunity for them,” says Kelly. “It has the potential to impact the rest of their lives.”

“We want them to know you can make a career of art,” says Bailey. “This is possible.”

The winning pieces from Art in the Garden will be on display in five residential gardens on Saturday, May 28, from 10am-4pm. The self-guided driving tour is $10, and tickets are available at the Flower Market, the Studios at Flat Rock, and at the Henderson County Visitors Center. For more information, e-mail advocatesfortheartshendo@gmail.com.

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