“Flourish: The Garden at 50” Chicago Botanic Gardens celebrates 50th birthday

Monika Jurevicius, Editor-in-Chief

Chicago Botanic Gardens celebrates its 50th anniversary on its Glencoe campus as it installs art sculptures around the parks until Sept. 25, 2022. 

“The Garden is thriving due to the commitment of our members, visitors, and program participants over the last 50 years,” associate vice president of Visitor Events and Programs Jodi Zombolo said on the Botanic Gardens website. “We are excited for everyone to join our joyous birthday celebration.”

On May 13,2022, ten sculptures were installed around the gardens as a celebration of Flourish: The Garden at 50 to commemorate the opening of the gardens in 1972. The artists that contributed were from local, national and international locations. 

“The Morton Arboretum and Cantigny do these installations too and I guess they’re interesting but in the end the simple beauty of nature is what draws me to these places” Connie Lord Devendorf said on Chicago Botanic Gardens Facebook page about Cody James Norman’s piece.

Upon entering the gardens, visitors are greeted with a sign that says “Hear Nature Cleansing,” a part of the three-pice installation of “Of Earth and Sky” by artist Luke Jerram and poet Keli Stewart. Further ahead visitors will see the “Casa-Isla,” a transparent house submerged in North Lake.

“I want them to breathe,” Stewart said. “It’s kind of forcing people to pause. To take a moment to be in nature. To just exist, and to celebrate the space that the Chicago Botanic Garden has created over the last 50 years.”

As you walk around the gardens, you will be greeted with pieces by Juan Angel Chaves, Patrick Dougherty, Faheem Majeed, Cody James Norman and more. All their pieces have a significant meaning behind them as they are exhibited for the many visitors that come to this location. 

“I recalled seeing a group of young children during a visit and their actions made it clear that their imaginations were soaring in this magical space and I could relate,” artist Sam Kirk said in her artist statement for her mural painted in celebration of the garden. “In moments like these, I am reminded of nature’s symbiotic benefits.”

The Chicago Botanic gardens are open year round with members receiving free admission, while non-members have to pay varying prices depending on which county they live in and what dates they come. Sept. 13 and 15 are offering free admission to all visitors.