IF YOU HAVEN’T had the chance to visit the Houston Botanic Garden since it opened in the fall of 2020, there’s no better time to check it out than this weekend.
Tomorrow, Sept. 24, Houston Botanic Garden celebrates its second birthday with a special family-friendly festival of food, games, and outdoor activities — and the Houston debut of New York-based artist Sean Kenney’s award-winning touring exhibit Nature Connects® Made with LEGO® Bricks, a colorful and elaborate installation of 30-plus sculptures inspired by nature and created entirely out of Legos.
Nature Connects features birds, butterflies and squirrels alongside some creatures you wouldn’t expect could be realized with plastic bricks — including a praying mantis, a Japanese goldfish, a pileated woodpecker mounted on the trunk of a mature tree (just where you expect to see one in the wild), and a life-size human gardener. Kenney and the Garden see the exhibit’s Legos as a metaphor for interconnection, especially humankind’s connection to natural world.
One of the biggest challenges the Garden encountered with the installation of Nature Connects is the fact that Lego bricks just beg to be touched. “We want to make sure visitors can see them from many angles, and get close enough to take photos,” says Katherine Sadler, Director of Operations. “We’ve placed the sculptures thoughtfully within our Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden to minimize the need for bulky or unsightly barriers.”
Amazingly, the Lego pieces in each sculpture in Nature Connects are connected the same way one would build with them at home, a fact that will no doubt inspire young visitors to go home and see if they can build their own bird bath or monarch butterfly. “They allow for endless creativity,” says Claudia Gee Vassar, President and General Counsel of the Garden, of those humble plastic blocks. “We get to take a basic building block and transform it into whatever our imagination can dream up.”
Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects® Made with LEGO® Bricks at Houston Botanic Garden runs through Feb. 19, 2023.
Kenney at work
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