Second ‘Sculpture in the Garden’ exhibit on display

Adding to the wonder of a stroll through the lush and lovely San Diego Botanic Garden are dozens of new surprises to delight visitors of all ages.

The oohs and ahhs come from chancing upon 20 large-scale outdoor sculptures placed serendipitously amid the paths and plants.

Standing tall of blown glass, stainless steel, bronze, stone and copper, the colorful, commanding works by 15 area artists are part of the new (and second) Sculpture in the Garden exhibit from the San Diego Fine Art Society at the San Diego Botanic Garden.

As art society director April Game envisions it, the works in the garden create a phantom gallery — artwork integrated temporarily into a non-gallery venue — to expose more people to art and inspire the talents of future artists.

“The exhibit is also part of a fundraising effort, and all the sculptures are available for purchase to benefit both organizations,” she said.

Julian DuVal, chief executive officer at the garden, said the collaboration is a win-win proposition for all concerned.

“I do talk to the plants, and they tell me they like the art here, ” he joked. “Art is certainly inspired by life, which is why the flourishing garden provides the ideal setting for these organic creations. We look forward to hosting many more artists in years to come.”

Upon entering the garden, visitors are greeted by the inspiring 12-foot sculpture “Lean on Me,” by Robert Verhees. He said this vibrant piece, constructed with multicolored blown glass and stainless steel, represents two partners who are confident in knowing they can rely on each other.

A favorite with children is sure to be Ilona Passino’s “Courage,” a lion of concrete and ceramic mosaic tiles, located in the South African Garden.

“This is the largest piece I’ve ever done,” Passino said. “It took me six months to create. It’s a joyful work, strong enough for kids to climb on.”

Chris Boyer of Ocean Beach took a pause after touring the exhibit and summed up the experience: “So many wonderful creations of man among God’s creations in this garden.”

Other sculptures in the exhibit include “Ascent,” “Monument for God’s Hill” and “She Dreams Her World” by Fred Briscoe; “A Tree for All Seasons” by Pat Cranor; “WorldWind” by Ken Smith; “Mastaba” and “Spire” by John Dole; “Sheeps Head: Size Does Matter” by James Stone; “Tree Goddess” by Rae Barney; “Second Century” by Benjamin Lavender; “Koi Pond” by Mike Tauber and Anna Hammann; “Triflow of Truth” by Lia Strell; “The Blessing Tree” by Melissa Ralston; “Ocean’s Breath” by Charles Bronson; “Untitled Native Peoples”; “Sculptural Cliche’s” by Carolyn Guerra; and “Tropical Garden SeaLife Bench” by James Stone.

Sculpture in the Garden
- What: 20 works of art on 36 acres of green space
- When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, through March 1
- Where: San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas
- Tickets: $6-$12
- Parking: $2
- Tours: By appointment, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday-Sunday; $25; (858) 205-4354.
- On the Web:,

Related posts:

  1. National Art Exhibit explores endurance of women
  2. Sea gull sculpture plan doesn’t fly with council
  3. Quail Botanical Gardens becomes SD Botanic Garden
  4. Sea horse exhibit continues
  5. Sea horses take center stage at new aquarium exhibit

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