David Mallin's "Mother Earth" and Mary Ellen Long's "Homage to Nature Writers"
Two new art installations, both in the Contemporary section of the Literary Garden, reflect how the natural world has informed many of our authors and poets.
Mancos artist David Mallin captures the contemporary emphasis on nature and environmental issues with a metal and glass mixed media work entitled Mother Earth ("Pachamama" in Quechua). The work projects the need for humankind to nurture our precious natural world.
Durango artist, Mary Ellen Long, has conceived a work consisting of a series of stones inscribed with the names of some of our most noted writers. Entitled Homage to Nature Writers, it culminates with a boulder with a water basin chiseled from the stone. The boulder was produced by Erik Lewis of Canyon Landscape. The project was funded by the Durango Friends of the Arts.
Wind Harp Installation Between the Crevice and Grass Gardens
Thanks to the Creative Economy Commission and the Arts & Culture Funding from the 2022 Lodger’s Tax, the Durango Botanic Gardens received a substantial grant to purchase a world-class piece of metal art.
We applied for and received funds to purchase the Infiniti Wind Harp II,
created by Ross Barrable (shown at right) of Harmony Wind Harps, in
nearby Pagosa. This fascinating piece of art combines design with
musicality. The stunning work in metal features 18 nylon strings and
stainless-steel tuning pins that will capture wind movements in the
Animas River Corridor and transform them into a variety of natural,
pleasing musical tones.
This botanically-themed mural, painted on a wall in the gardens by Nia Sturr in May 2021, depicts plants and flora common to our region’s microclimates and elevations.
To reflect this amazing horticultural and climatic diversity, plants
common to lower, dryland elevations begin at the left of the mural and
ascend to plants, trees common to higher, montane and alpine elevations.
Because the common names of plants can vary from region to region,
horticulturists and nurseries reference plants using what is called
binomial nomenclature, using both the common name and the scientific
name, the latter expressed in Latin. Look for these plants on your next
hike or when strolling through our public gardens. The mural was commissioned by the Durango Botanic Gardens, which has been building public
gardens around the library since 2011. The project has been supported
and funded by a variety of individuals, companies, and organizations.
The striking Puma in the Demonstration Garden was part of the San Juan Mountain Association's Pumas on Parade fundraising and public art event, which commissioned 30 artist interpretations of these beautiful, but elusive creatures.
The program also celebrated the San Juan National Forest Centennial. Pumas
on Parade was modeled after dozens of similar public art projects
world-wide, among them: “Orcas in the City” in British Columbia, and
closer to home, The Trail of Painted Ponies in New Mexico. Our
particular puma was created by local artist, Miki Harder, and donated to the Durango Botanical Society by Matt and Jenna Kenna.
The Kennas wanted the Puma to be incorporated into the Durango
Botanic Garden's Demonstration Garden, located on the river trail
behind the Durango Public Library. The Kennas are environmentally
conscious supporters of non-profits.
Ravens in Flight
The Demonstration Garden is also home to the Thomas Grams Memorial sculpture, also designed by Harder, capturing of spirit of birds in flight.
In the photo here Harder demonstrates how the base can turn to further
enhance the feeling of flight. Thomas Grams was a local dentist who
joined the International Assistance Mission, providing dental care in
remote places such as Guatemala and Afghanistan. Grams was an avid
volunteer and humanitarian. He was killed while on a humanitarian
mission in Afghanistan. The Demonstration Garden is also an all
volunteer garden and this seemed the perfect place to honor his memory.
The theme of both of these sculptures incorporates the ravens Miki is so
well known for. It seemed only natural for the Puma to live side by
side with the Grams memorial.
Decorative Art Panels
Four metal panels now grace the Arboreta Gardens.
The panels are fabricated, with laser cutting technology by Bryan
Saren. Annette LeMaire designed the panel illustrating a girl reading in the nook of the tree. Another panel is based upon an original painting, Glow,
by LeMaire and owned by John and Theresa Anderson. The Andersons
commissioned the metal panel. Another panel in the gardens, honoring
veterans, was purchased and donated by Clark and Melanie Palmer. For
more information on how to donate one of the metal panels in the
gardens, call us at 970-880-4841. We can either work with one of your
ideas or have a professional artist draft ideas for you.
Sailing the Circular Sea
We purchased and installed Jeff Wise's Sailing the Circular Sea in our Library Demonstration Garden in 2022.
The work features a spinning halo of welded and forged steel hovering
over a sculpted triangular base. Wise (shown near left) is a prominent
Durango artist working in metal and other media. In his artist
statement, Jeff says he has supported himself as an artist his entire
life, with diversions at one time or another into being a cowboy and
stone mason. He adds that in addition to his sculptural work,
architecture has been a parallel interest. The purchase was made
possible by funds from the Durango Botanic Gardens, a grant from the
Durango Friends of the Arts, and Annette and Bill LeMaire. Learn more
about Jeff Wise Art here.
Thank you to our Garden Partners, Affiliates, and Benefactors
The Durango Botanic Gardens are physically located at the Durango Public Library, to the north and east of the library. The library is located at 1900 E. 3rd Ave., Durango.
There is no admission charge. Stroll the gardens yourself (there is ample signage in most gardens) or call us at 970-880-4841 to arrange a group tour. See our Information Tab for more.
DURANGO BOTANIC GARDENS
10 Town Plaza, #460
Durango, CO 81301