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Gardens On Trial—You Be the Judge

August 27, 2015
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.

No Stone Un-Conserved

August 18, 2015
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.

Nightscape: Designing an Experience

August 16, 2015
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?

Envisioning Nightscape

August 4, 2015
There is a scene in Akira Kurosawa's Dreams that has tugged at me for years, where a little boy escapes into the woods and sees a parade of foxes. He chances upon it and is not supposed to see it. It is a magical moment of uncertainty and amazement. I wanted to create that kind of feeling with Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience by Klip Collective. For Klip Collective, the future of art is creating experience as art. We want to create a body of work where the audience has to move through it physically. Years ago, Klip Collective created a one-hundred-foot wide veil of smoke in a meadow where we projected fireflies that danced in frantic flight. It was designed to be viewed from a distance and seen in a larger context. To our surprise, people walked right into it. The audience wanted to be surrounded and lost in the chaos of the moment. Seeing how people were drawn to the lights and how they reacted to the experience inspired me to explore the idea of experience as art … and that began the process for Nightscape.