Sunnylands’ Family Days offer celebrations of art, nature and cultural activities

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MARCH 10, 2015 — Displaying creations forged from metals, wood and stone, seven sculptors drew nearly 800 visitors to the Center & Gardens on Sunday, Feb. 22, for a free Family Day that put the spotlight on their craft and gave the public an opportunity to create art as well.

“For me, being able to sculpt in the Sunnylands environment is very energizing and uplifting,” said Patrick Blythe, whose stone sculptures were exhibited on the Great Lawn along with the works of others. “I enjoy birds, plants, and wildlife, so the setting is an ideal place to feel the uplifting power of nature.”

As part of Sunnylands’ educational programming, Family Days are designed to give families an opportunity to learn about art and nature and to experience a variety of cultural practices. The next free Family Day, titled “In the Gardens: Birds, Bugs & Bloom,” is on Sunday, April 12 from 9:30 am to 2 pm.

In the “Focus on Sculpture” event, families gathered in the Studio to create three-dimensional self-portraits from common household items such as buttons, fabric, cardboard, and yarn, while visitors worked together in the Great Room to assemble a 3-D art puzzle.

On the Great Lawn, renowned photographer and sculptor E. Tyler Burton made her desert debut with a wood and fire presentation that wowed the audience, while artist Eric Banas welded metal sculptures and spoke about his experience working with mixed media.

“It is so nice to get out of the studio and to interact with the community,” Burton said. As a female artist, she said her favorite question of the day was asked by a young girl. “‘Did you really, really make these? All by yourself?’”

Sculptor Victor Picou supervised children as they learned to manipulate stone with a variety of tools. Fellow artist Richard Hovel said he found the interaction with guests, especially the children, to be an uplifting experience. “One 12-year-old, in particular, was absolutely enthralled with my work and was very insightful and inspirational,” he said. Hovel exhibited how to assemble sculptures with a variety of found wood pieces.