This summer, art takes us outdoors.
At Dow Gardens, “Art in the Garden 2011” features glass sculptures by Craig Mitchell Smith, an artist who has received national recognition.
His sculptures, based off of the flowers, trees and water-life in the park, use thousands of glass pieces to imitate the look of painted brush strokes.
The sculptures are scattered around the park amidst the flowers and trees of the garden. They are included in all five sections of the park: Stream Walk, Estate Garden, Color Garden, Pineside, and Exploration and Children’s Garden.
One example is “Making a Splash,” a sculpture that looks like water is spurting up out of the pond. Another one, “The Weeping Willow,” mimics the weeping willow tree it is installed in front of.
There are 22 sculptures. Every Sunday at 1 p.m. through July, another one is installed by Smith.
But the art is not the only interesting thing about the gardens. Each section has something new to explore.
Start out in the Stream Walk and see the waterfall that helps keep the pond clean by spilling 750 gallons of water a minute. Then follow the stream to the red bridge that will take you to the Estate Garden.
The Estate Garden features a perennial garden, herb garden and jungle walk.
In the Color Garden, tackle the yew maze and see the annual and perennial displays.
At Pineside, find a little reminder of SVSU. A duplicate of the Leaping Gazelle (found at SVSU’s fountain) looks over the reflection pool.
There is also an overlook to see the Allen B. Dow Home and Studio. This has a unique structure and is partly underwater. Allen B. Dow (the architect) also helped structure the garden. His father, the founder of the garden, is Herbert Dow who founded Dow Chemical Co.
Lastly, the Exploration and Children’s Garden has a garden for the kids where they can water the flowers, play in the playhouses, create castles in the sandbox or blow giant bubbles at the bubble table.
There is also a trial garden for gardeners to experiment with different plants and flowers to see how well they grow in the Michigan climate.
During the visit, also expect to see rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, ducks and birds.
The best part is that admission for the whole day is only $1 with a student I.D. You can also purchase an annual admission card for $10 good for the garden year-round.
At dusk this Friday, June 24, Dow Gardens will host outdoor movie night. You can bring lawn chairs and sit in the gardens to watch “Date Night.”
There are also folk music events this summer. See dowgardens.org for specific dates and times.
Dow Gardens is located on Eastman Avenue in Midland and is open 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day in the summer.