Much like an artist begins a painting with a vision in mind, or a writer begins a tale with a general story, once you’re in the creative process, the details can change a bit. Often for the better! Just such a thing is taking place at Selby Gardens thanks to our ongoing exhibition, Marc Chagall, Flowers, and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams. With this integration of horticulture and arts we are attracting record numbers of guests. Some come for the plants. Some come for the master artwork. Some come for the special events. No matter why people come, everyone leaves inspired and has an understanding of the importance of the natural world in our everyday lives.
This exhibition continues through July and, like that painting still taking shape, or that novel being written, the details continue to evolve. The plant life changes daily. The special events draw out new dimensions of Chagall’s life. The line between nature and arts blends more and more.
As you read the newest issue of Tropical Dispatch, I encourage you to find your own way of enjoying our living museum. There are many events taking place, classes and programs for all ages to enjoy, and of course news about more exhibitions to come, including a fall Orchid Show and the next artist to be featured in the Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series – Warhol: Flowers in the Factory. In both of these exhibitions our team will continue to push the envelope of what it means to create art-based nature from nature-based art.
The success of this exhibition and those to come allow for significant investments in our scientific endeavors and children’s education programs, for both of which Selby Gardens is highly regarded. At the time I’m writing this, we are actively searching for a new doctoral-level research botanist who will add to the expertise of our team. We intend to enhance the connection our institution has with national and international conservation efforts. We will also expand efforts to share our knowledge and expertise with other botanical gardens, professionals, higher-education students and local schools to prepare the next generation of scientists.
Perhaps most exciting is the forthcoming opportunity to reimagine how we share the story of Selby Gardens’ botanical research with our visitors. For several months our trustees, advisory board members and senior staff leaders have been discussing with the internationally recognized landscape design studio OLIN to reimagine how guests engage with our collections as part of a master planning phase. While the details are still being formed, I’m confident that the plan that will develop will be sure to showcase our research and highlight our mission, all the while upholding our promise to maintain Marie Selby’s property as a place for everyone to enjoy and find sanctuary in the natural world.
Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO