Garden Fresh

"Brian Vogt had a dream," says Denver Botanic Gardens spokesman Will Jones. "He was thinking about how our gardens are so unique because of the way they're situated right in the middle of the city. There's all this greenery at the center of so much concrete and steel." So Gardens CEO Vogt and exhibitions director Lisa Eldred put their heads together and came up with a crackerjack summer blockbuster: Urban Nature, a spectacular new environment, the likes of which you've never seen before, that opens today at the gardens. A series of grand-scale, environmentally friendly outdoor panels by more than ten local and international street-style painters and muralists (including global heavy hitters Lady Pink, Mac and Siloette), the exhibit explores that contradictory juxtaposition of the natural and urban worlds while changing the familiar DBG landscape in broad but lyrical terms.

And that's not all there is to it. "This is not necessarily just an art show we're putting on; the murals are part of the overall discussion," notes Jones. Accompanying all that urban symbolism dancing among the flora will be a summer-long series of hands-on educational programs that offer hard advice on the art of urban homesteading. Subjects range from how to create a fabulous container garden in a tiny space to how to raise chickens in your own back yard (it's legal in Denver). Additional artwork by Denver artist Darrell Anderson, community-garden sculptures by Bill, Judy and Robert Schempp, and Mary Ellen Long's site-specific outdoor installations at the DBG's Chatfield facility will also address the overall theme.

Visit the many facets of Urban Nature through November 30; for information, go to www.botanicgardens.org or call 720-865-3500.
April 19-Nov. 30, 2008

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd