The College of Agricultural Sciences, Oregon State University, is sponsoring an invitational art exhibition this year with a garden theme, Chance to Flourish: Private, Public, and Wild Gardens. Thirty-five artists who are represented in the College’s Art About Agriculture permanent collection were invited to submit one recent work of art relevant to the garden theme of the show. The exhibition will also feature works of art by each of these artists acquired in the past by the College for Art About Agriculture; a group of assemblages, drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, and sculptures that inspired this garden show.

Gardens of every sort have a long and intriguing history that blends art, science, and humanity. The Italian villa for example, is a family compound that includes the dwelling with adjacent vegetable plots and flowerbeds, skirted by orchards and vineyards, all surrounded by grass and grain fields. Royal families, such as Italy’s Medici family, sponsored the scientific study of botany and plant pathology for several generations. The careful botanical illustrations that served as valuable records of these scientific studies are among the early connections between the arts and sciences.

peppersNorth America gardens initially comprised all that Native Americans produced for food, fibers, and medicines—and the methods they used to grow, hunt, and gather these necessities, as well as new practices and new species of plants and animals introduced by European colonists. Today, American gardens include everything from traditional residential grounds for growing vegetables and ornamental plants, to new age ecological rooftop gardens that abound in the Pacific Northwest. This region is also renowned for exotic Asian gardens, and as a place where native plants and animals thrive under protection in magnificent Nature preserves. The word ‘garden’ describes a general idea used to fit a wide variety of designs, purposes, and approaches for cultivating land parcels that are scaled for particular uses by families, communities, and the public.

Chance to Flourish: Private, Public, and Wild Gardens is scheduled for exhibition in the OSU LaSells Stewart Center, March 1-30, 2010, in the Giustina Gallery and Murdock Wing, with the catalogs on view in the Construction and Engineering display case. Betty Brose, Gene and Cande Buccola, James and Stella Coakley, William Cook and Gwil Evans, the late Brenda and Gordon Hood, Larry and Sherry Kaseberg, the Lamb Foundation, Edward and Beth Ray, Sonny and Gita Ramaswamy, Scott Reed, and Gayle Strome are sponsors for artists’ awards.

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