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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    New Botanical Garden exhibit connects art to nature, play, and design

    The Tucson Botanical Gardens will begin its four-month-long exhibit, “Nature Connects, Art with Lego Bricks,” where art meets nature, play and design.
    No matter what the age, this event is the perfect place to rekindle your inner child while bringing kids along. Within this event, expect monthly showings of “The Lego Movie” during its Friday Family Movies Nights, a Nextrio LEGO Brick Playroom and a design challenge open to all.
    Melissa D’Auria, the director of marketing and communications at the gardens, goes more in depth about the exhibit and how creativity can bring people together.

    Sean Kenney is the only independent artist in the world that has produced steel reinforced, fully glued, outdoor grade Lego installations. In 2010, the Philadelphia Zoo commissioned “Creatures of Habitat,” 30 life-sized animals varying from tiny birds to a life-size polar bear.

    The Exhibit:
    The show consists of approximately 26 sculptures built with Lego pieces, creating 13 individual displays. The show began touring in 2012 and by the end of 2015, will have been seen in 33 venues including the Saint Louis Zoo, Morton Arboretum, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Denver Botanic Gardens, San Francisco Zoo and Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

    Daily Wildcat: How has Tucson Botanical Gardens enriched Tucson’s environmental identity and what makes it unique? 
    D’Auria: We offer an environment to learn about the natural world, specifically the unique characteristics of the Southwest. We teach the community and visitors about what and how to plant in the desert environment to bear the most successful, rewarding and responsible garden or landscape.

    In depth, can you explain what “Nature Connects, Art with Lego Bricks” is? How did this exhibit begin?
    Nature Connects is an award-winning, record-breaking exhibition of beautiful sculptures built entirely with Lego pieces by acclaimed artist Sean Kenney. In partnership with Iowa State University and Sean Kenney Design Inc., “Nature Connects” has been touring botanical gardens, zoos, arboretums and science centers around the world since 2012.

    Typically, how many people around the community attend this exhibit every year?
    We don’t know since we’ve never had an exhibit of this size. We typically see around 100,000 visitors year round at the Gardens. We are expecting this exhibit to increase that number dramatically.

    What’s the most interesting animal or art sculpture you’ve seen being built?
    I think the staff favorite so far is the peacock. They really are amazing and look so elegant and beautiful in our Garden setting.

    Is there anything that the public should know about this exhibit that’s not listed on the website or other places that have advertised this event?
    It really is more impressive in person! Each sculpture has a sign that explains a little bit about the depicted animal or plant. In addition to that information the number of Lego bricks and hours it took to create the sculptures are listed, which is really fascinating!

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