Siting Art in the Garden
Our region is abuzz about art. Swarthmore College is preparing for Arts Weekend on campus. The city of Philadelphia is preparing for the opening of the Barnes Foundation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Here at the Scott Arboretum, we have finalized our Art in the Garden brochure.
Art and the garden are creative complements. With successful placement and integration, sculpture in a garden enhances our appreciation of both the changing garden and the unchanging character of the sculpture.
There are some key considerations when siting art in the garden.
1. Scale: The challenge is to site the art in scale to its surroundings.
For example, the piece Slide Rock was originally located in the John W. Nason Garden. This large structure felt wedged into the smaller scale garden between four buildings. The piece can now be found on Mertz lawn. Here the large sweeping lawn and towering residence halls are in better proportion to the scale of the large piece.
The small scale sculpture, Mina, is sited in the Terry Shane Teaching Garden. This garden is created on the scale of the residential home (Cunningham) that it surrounds. This location is more intimate for the diminutive piece.
2. Year round appeal: The garden is enjoyed in full bloom, with colorful fall foliage and snow covered. The art piece should play in the landscape no matter the season.
For example, a depiction of driftwood sited in a woodland garden may look great during the lush summer season, but it would blend into the background during the winter months along with the rest of the sticks and branches scattered throughout the woodland.
The red tree is striking in the landscape whether covered in snow or surrounded by a background of green foliage.
3. Appropriateness: Art should complement the theme of the garden and reflect the gardener’s style.
In Eve and Per Thryum’s artist/collector’s retreat, Frog Hollow Garden, whimsical pieces by Simple are nestled among shade-loving perennials. These dancing cranes mirror the bubbly and fanciful personality of the garden owners.
These assuming creatures would feel out of place in the formal garden of boxwood collector, Dr. Joel Wasley.
When art and gardens come together, the possibilities for artistic inspiration abound. For inspiration on how to add art to your garden, follow the self-guided tour of our permanent and temporary art installations. They range from the size of a cat to a small bus; from abstract modernistic pieces to representational functional elements in the landscape; and from classic subjects to ephemeral and whimsical expressions.