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October 8, 2015
Mint to Be: Longwood’s Collaboration with Éclat Chocolate
Chocolatier Christopher Curtin, whose acclaimed Éclat chocolates are a Chester County treasure, was looking for a year-round source of freshly grown herbs. Longwood Gardens, whose horticulture expertise is widely known, was looking to garner deeper relationships with local master artisans. The result: a memorable fusion of chocolate and mint for all to enjoy. Since childhood, Curtin had been a fan of Longwood and believed that a collaboration would offer interesting possibilities. His love of experimenting with interesting herbs to create unexpected flavors and the idea of having fresh herbs year-round naturally drew him to think of Longwood. Longwood was well aware of the esteemed Curtin, who spent 14 years in Europe studying the classic chocolate and pastry crafts. His popular West Chester-based store is located just minutes from the Gardens.
September 21, 2015
The Story is Yours at Nightscape
Last Friday saw the third installment of Longwood’s Artist & Friends Speaker Series for Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience by Klip Collective. Two new panelists joined Ricardo Rivera, founding member of Klip Collective and mastermind of Nightscape, but the group’s conversation about experience and storytelling picked up right where it left off in August. Yelena Rachitsky, Creative Producer of the Future of StoryTelling Summit, and Lance Weiler, Founding Member and Director of the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab, joined Rivera to discuss the intersection of human experience, technology, and narrative as it relates to Nightscape. The abstract nature of Nightscape is the common thread weaving through the Artist & Friends Speaker Series. If Rivera and his team are sure about one thing, it is that Nightscape challenges the certainty, absolutes, and rules that tend to govern our waking lives. Instead, imagination, wonder, and curiosity serve as the viewer’s best guides throughout the installations.
August 27, 2015
Gardens On Trial—You Be the Judge
This summer, Longwood Gardens is doing something new with our Trial Garden. We have always put the voting power in the hands of our guests, asking them to cast a ballot for their favorite plants. But this year, our guests will vote for combinations of plants, judging a friendly competition among staff members over who created the most beautiful garden beds. Teams and individuals entered the competition this spring, creating 26 unique plots for your viewing pleasure. Each garden uses anywhere from three to eight plants that were selected from a list of over 160 species and cultivars—many of which are tried-and-true Longwood favorites, but some of which are new to Longwood. Some designers took creative inspiration from their favorite genera, while others played with varying color themes or were inspired by travels to distant lands.
August 18, 2015
No Stone Un-Conserved
What are the components of a grand fountain garden? Dazzling water effects powered by hydraulic calculations, an inspiring design, and a stunning landscape are all parts of an unforgettable scene. For Longwood Gardens’ Main Fountain Garden (along with many other gardens built in the European tradition), sculpture is key to the Garden’s character, lending a unique and intimate quality. Each hand-carved stone is one-of-a-kind and tells a story of both the designer’s aesthetic as well as the artisan’s hand. As our Fountain Revitalization Project progresses, our trusted partners at Dan Lepore & Sons are the stewards of these cherished objects—cataloging, cleaning, conserving, and repairing more than 4,000 individual artifacts that will all eventually be returned to the Garden. This monumental task, like so many other components of the Fountain Revitalization, combines traditional craftsmanship with the latest advances in conservation and project management.
August 16, 2015
Nightscape: Designing an Experience
Last Friday, Longwood Gardens hosted the second installment of the Artist & Friends Speaker Series for Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience by Klip Collective. Ricardo Rivera, creator of Nightscape and founding partner of Klip Collective, returned to participate with Josh Goldblum (Founder and CEO of Bluecadet) and Nick Fortugno (Co-Founder and COO of Playmatics). The discussion centered on the role of technology in Nightscape, especially regarding its power to add depth to the viewer’s experience. The panelists debated the concept of “experience” and its relevance to cultural institutions. How do we draw the line between engaging with something personally—such as physically walking through and taking in the Nightscape installations—and viewing images of it on a screen or hearing about it second-hand? Both are experiences … but how does one create something that’s deeply affective rather than passive or even derivative?