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      Bob Spencer Photography

David Mallin's Earth Mother and Mary Ellen Long's Homage to Nature Writers

Two new art installations, both in the Contemporary section of the Literary Gardens, 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 Earth Mother.  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 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. 

Visitors viewing Wallflowers mural. WALL FLOWERS

This botanically-themed mural, painted on a wall in the gardens by Nia Sturr  in May 2021, depictsplants 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 is sponsored 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. 

Sailing the Circular Sea steel sculpture.SAILING THE CIRCULAR SEA

We purchased and installed Jeff Wise'sJeff Wise, Artist "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.

Puma, painted by Miki HarderDYNAMIC PUMA

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 Botanical Society’s Demonstration Garden, located on the river trail behind the Durango Public Library. The Kennas are environmentally conscious supporters of non-profits.

RAVENS IN FLIGHTRavens in Flight, by Niki Harder.

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 PANELSMetal art panel of a tree.

Three metal panels now grace the Arboreta Gardens. At left, Annette LeMaire's design of a young girl reading in the nook of a tree.  The panels are fabricated, with laser cutting technology by Bryan Saren.  The panel at the right, also fabricated by Saren, 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.

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Durango Botanic Gardens

Our Location:

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 About Us for more.

Contact Us:

10 Town Plaza, #460
Durango, CO  81301    

Phone:  970-880-4841

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