Weekend Update: Art in the Garden

By Peggy Roalf   Friday August 11, 2023


My Neighbors’ Garden | Lunchtime Tours at Madison Square Park

Bring your lunch on any Wednesday at noon for a tour of the Park’s summer installation Info Created by Sheila Pepe, this art piece in Madison Square Park brings colorful and unexpected materials that she croched into the green of the park. Sheila’s canopies and webs of string and cable ties, shoelaces, outsize sustainable rubber bands, and plant materials cling to the twenty-foot high supporting light poles that parkgoers can walk beneath. Heirloom vegetables and flowering vines grow up the crochet lines to the tree canopy, blending the artist’s materials with the natural world.

Madison Square Park, Enter at Fifth Avenue and 26th; meet at the Farragut monument, New York, NY Map


Power of Trees at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Breathe more deeply as you explore this exhibition of sculpture commissioned by BBG in conjunction with the summer theme, Power of Trees. Curated by Cecilia André, in collaboration with the BIPOC artist alliance AnkhLave, the works by six artists are inspired by the notion of trees as community hosts—for people as well as for birds. While you’re there, you can pick up tips on how to nurture the trees on your block at the tree stewardship area.

“Many species depend on and thrive under the canopy of a single tree”, says André. “Within a tree resides an entire ecosystem of species that interact in mutualistic arrangements. Nevertheless, this same tree is susceptible to parasites that may drain the system’s riches.The AnkhLave Garden Project aims to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities that experiment with many possibilities of interactions within their ‘canopies.’” Info

In The Heart of the Tree, above, by Natsuki Takauji, colored hand-blown glass pieces, resembling IV drips, hang like fruits from a twisted heart-like trunk while also watering a planter inside of the dome. “While the dying tree is alarming and blaming us,” says Takauji, “it remains a source of life.”  

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 150 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY Directions Related events and public programs here 



Works in Public at Riverside Park

Public art has the power to bring people together in ways that are often unpredictable. Ever since Doris Freedman chaired New York City’s newly founded Department of Cultural Affairs, in 1967, contemporary art—specifically, sculpture—has become part of our urban fabric. [See my notes on Tony Rosenthal’s Alamo here].Above: Susan Markowitz Meredith, LIFE DANCE, 2023

The Art Students League of New York, in partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program and the Riverside Park Conservancy, runs a development program called Works in Public, that offers qualified artists the opportunity to create a work that will be fabricated and installed in Riverside Park for a year, then be offered a subsequent life at another location.

After a three-year hiatus, the program has resumed and two of the four works for 2023 can now be seen in Riverside Park South, with two more to be installed uptown in September. Whitney Dearden, Director of Public Programming, Riverside Park Conservancy said, “Public art has always been an essential part of our programmatic offerings, and the Riverside Park Conservancy is thrilled to welcome back the Art Students League and Works in Public. As part of our commitment to activating public greenspace, we invite parkgoers to visit these sculptures over the next year and experience a familiar park in a new and exciting way.”

Works by Helen Draves and Susan Markowitz Meredith can now be seen at Riverside Park South, entrance at 59th Street. Info