Morton Arboretum features Lego sculptures
These are no ordinary garden sculptures.
Constructed from thousands of tiny plastic bricks — 464,770 to be exact — Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks is a unique perspective on some plants and creatures.
“There’s all kinds of beautiful things inspired by nature,” said Mary Samerdyke, manager of interpretation at the Morton Arboretum. “We’re really looking forward to having it here.”
The outdoor exhibit featuring 13 unique displays opens July 17 at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle and runs through Nov. 1. Most recently on display at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky, the exhibit’s stop in Lisle marks its first Chicago-area appearance.
“We are thrilled to death to have it at the arboretum,” Samerdyke said. Artist Sean Kenney created the 13 displays, composed of 27 different sculptures. Named the world’s first “Lego Certified Professional” in 2005, the New York-based artist is the only one in the world to create steel reinforced, fully glued, outdoor grade Lego installations.
“They really are works of art and works of engineering,” Samerdyke said. “They are designed to last, to hold up to the wind and rain.”
Kenney will be at the Arboretum for the exhibit’s opening week, Samerdyke said. He will be participating in various events, including book signings. Several special events and programs are scheduled at the Arboretum throughout the duration of the exhibit. Children and adults will get a chance to make their own Lego creations at some of the events, and a self-guided scavenger hunt will also be available.
For the last several years, the Arboretum has been hosting special outdoor art exhibits, which in the past have included giant bug sculptures.
“Typically we do an annual summer sculpture show or exhibit of some sort,” Samerdyke said. “This year we opted for Nature Connects.”
It took a number of years to get the exhibit at the Arboretum, she said, and has involved a lot of planning. That includes figuring out where on the Arboretum’s east side each of the sculptures would best fit, she said.
“Especially when you see the scale of so many pieces,” she said. “Everything needs to be bigger than life. They really are quite large.”
Among the pieces are a nearly life-size family of deer, an 8-foot long dragonfly with an 8-foot wingspan and an almost 7-foot wide peacock showing off its brightly colored plumage. The peacock sculpture required the most bricks, 68,827 of them, and took the most time for Kenney and his team to build: 625 hours.
The tallest sculpture is a 6-and-a-half-foot tall Monarch butterfly. The smallest is a bonsai tree measuring just less than 2 feet.
The exhibit is included with Arboretum admission. Samerdyke said both young and old will enjoy seeing the Lego sculptures.
“I think it’s something everybody can identify with,” she said. “They had such great experiences with them growing up, or have kids who enjoy them or grandkids who enjoy them.”
Kathy Cichon is a freelance reporter.
Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks
When: July 17-Nov. 1
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, Illinois.
Tickets: $14 adult 18-64; $12 seniors 65+; $9 youth 2-17
Information: 630-968-0074 or mortonarb.org
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