What a wonderful journey we have shared thus far through “The Year of Photography”—a visual excursion on our Downtown Sarasota campus featuring numerous breathtaking images and diverse styles.
We started by showcasing the iconic flower photography of Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the most acclaimed photographers of the 20th century. Visitors saw and learned how Mapplethorpe’s genius helped raise photography to fine art. Following that theme, the works in our current summer exhibition, Flora Imaginaria: The Flower in Contemporary Photography, were created in the three decades following Mapplethorpe’s 1989 passing, continuing the evolution of floral photography in bold and beautiful directions.
Now, I can’t wait for the spectacular show coming next! The Orchid Show 2022: Capturing the Perfect Shot, which runs from October 15 through December 4, will feature the stunning work of passionate Selby Gardens volunteer photographers, whose images capture the glorious essence of rare orchids in our collection. Keep in mind that while the photography we’re displaying was taken for research purposes, it begs the essential question: Is it not art too? These photographs are truly amazing, and I can’t wait for you to enjoy them for yourself.
Speaking of research, construction of the Steinwachs Family Plant Research Center has begun as part of the Master Plan. This state-of-the-art facility will protect, preserve, and showcase our world-class research collections, including the fascinating Spirit Collection. In essence, The Orchid Show is highlighting the collections that are being stewarded by the Master Plan.
And just one more word on the Master Plan: Construction is blazing forward, and we appreciate everyone bearing with us as we grow. It’s exciting that we have a record number of members today— more than 17,000! I realize that parking is a challenge right now, but please know that we have solid options for you on site. And, the new construction is designed to welcome our larger and growing numbers over the long term. As we progress, we look forward to telling you about more great additions—including more green space and garden features—that will result from our exciting expansion.
I hope you also make time to visit our Historic Spanish Point campus this fall. We’re introducing a new Halloween-themed event that’s just perfect for the Old Florida feel of this beautiful bayfront preserve. And our cutting-edge Seeing the Invisible art exhibition continues for another year, merging new technology with our historic setting for an experience like no other.
Thank you so much for your continued support, and I hope you have a picture-perfect fall season!
Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO