GARDENS, Part 1 —
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April 16, 2007 — I recently had
the pleasure of spending several days at Brookgreen Gardens with "sculptor
Louise Peterson. Louise, who most of
you already know, had flown to South Carolina from her home in Colorado to
attend a week-long sculpture workshop under sculptor Stanley Bleifeld at Brookgreen's
Center for American Sculpture. She
invited me to tag along for a couple of days. While Louise sculpted from 9-5,
I wandered the grounds of Brookgreen with my camera. Evenings were spent together,
just catching up on things. And there was plenty to talk about, such as...
A Major Achievement
bronze sculpture "Bella
and the Bug" (seen above) was installed at the Garden last January. This
is a big deal, folks, a VERY big deal.
Gardens is the nation's oldest figurative sculpture garden/museum. Located
on Pawleys Island, SC, Brookgreen was first opened to the public more than 75
years ago! The estate's Huntington Sculpture Garden features 900 individual works,
many created by some of the greatest names in American sculpture. As such, the
Brookgreen collection is considered the finest outdoor presentation of American
figurative sculpture in the world.
And now Louise
herself is part of that legacy! She writes:
first visited Brookgreen Gardens in 2002 when Tickled was
given an award in the 69th Annual Awards
Exhibition of the National
Sculpture Society. It is a magical place. I was in
awe of all the wonderful sculpture displayed so beautifully through out the gardens.
I feel a strong connection with the founder, Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was herself
a prolific and excellent animal sculptor. She grew up with Great Danes and raised
Scottish Deerhounds. In fact, her first sculpture was of a Great Dane dancing
with a woman! Anna encouraged other women sculptors
of her day. It was considered "unseemly"
for women to sculpt human figures, so they often sculpted animals instead. There
is a wonderful pair of Great Dane gatekeepers at Brookgreen, sculpted by Ms.
inspired by them. A small sculpture by Katharine Lane Weems, Greyhound
Lying Down, influenced Bella
and the Bug.
have been visiting Brookgreen Gardens at least once a year, almost as a pilgrimage.
It feeds my sculptor's soul and provides me with inspiration. Each
year I see new pieces and look at others in a new light as I grow as a sculptor.
Bella joins the
my first visit I decided that I had to have one of my Great Dane sculptures
in the collection. I submitted my life size Bella
and the Bug to the 71st Annual Awards Exhibition
of the National Sculpture Society. She was accepted into the exhibition, which
opened in New York. Only the winners would travel to Brookgreen Gardens; Bella
won the Leonard J. Meiselman award and made the trip.
decided to keep her! Bella was given an incredible spot in the gardens. She lies
among works by past presidents of the National Sculpture Society, and across
from Anna Hyatt Huntington's monumental Don Quioxte. I’m told Bella is
one of their most popular sculptures and my small pewters and bronzes sell quite
well in Brookgreen's Keepsakes Museum Gift shop.
popularity at Brookgreen has paved the way in South Carolina for more public
sculptures. Chickadee was
the first sculpture installed at The Reserve at Lake Keowee and High
be on loan to a dog park in the city of Greenville beginning in May. Fundraising
efforts are underway to purchase High Four for permanent installation at the
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