Director's Note 8/1/17

August 1, 2017

August at Lynden is dominated by two big events: our Free Family Day on August 5, and our annual Backyard Barbecue on August 24. Between those poles stretch late-summer opportunities to stroll, to picnic, to visit the bonsai exhibit, to seek out Katy Cowan’s bronzes on the grounds or artist-in-residence Gary John Gresl’s occasional installations, footnotes to his main installation—rendered less temporary by the extreme ephemerality of these interjections--The Body Farm at Lynden. We remain open until 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings, a peaceful time to mark the path of the sun across the sky from week to week—that inevitable journey toward winter and darkness--and experience the ponderous weight of all the greenery—it, too, darker now, as summer progresses. It is the time of year when the sculptures seem hidden, obscured by the foliage and their colors contesting with the insistent green of the lawn.

If you happen to look around you when you park in the lot, you may see our sculpture crew working their way through the familiar steps of installation: siting, excavation, insertion of the form, concrete pouring, erection of the sculpture. They are working on Tal Streeter’s “Delicate Balance” (1966-68), which came to us from the Milwaukee Art Museum several years ago. Now, after much restoration, we are preparing to put it in the ground, paint it, and make it available to the public once again.

But back to our big events: this Saturday we open the doors for a Free Family Day that brings together some of the threads unspooling from from Fo Wilson’s project, Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities. This summer, Portia Cobb has been following her own thread back to her Gullah-Geechee roots in the Sea Islands of South Carolina. On Saturday, she will be joined by her guest Arianne King Comer for the launch of Ibile! Ancestral Call in Cloth, a mini-residency that introduces the public to textile traditions of the African diaspora (and beyond). During her residency, King Comer will be teaching traditional batik, adire (Yoruba), and shibori (Japanese) techniques of designing on cloth. We’ll be trying some of this on Saturday, and we encourage you to bring your recycled 100% cotton or silk clothes, tablecloths, napkins—whatever you’d like to dip. We’ll also have plenty of other art and nature activities (full schedule here). Bring a picnic and stay all day. We’ll be running the shuttles, so don’t forget to park at the Park & Ride. The festivities will end with another Performance on the Porch of Eliza’s Cabinet at 4 pm, this one featuring Milwaukee’s own SistaStrings. I don’t like to sow regrets, but the people who turned out recently to hear Arsene DeLay sing on the porch can tell you just what you missed that time. (And as a coda, vocalist Benjamin Seabrook will perform on the porch on Saturday, August 19 at 4:30 pm. Details to follow!)

Ibile! continues through August 13 with a series of all-ages open dyeing sessions and workshops. We are embarking on a community project to memorialize Lizzie’s Garden (part of Portia Cobb’s project) by creating a collective recipe book using resist dye techniques.

If you create a particularly beautiful garment during one of the dyeing workshops, you might want to wear it to Harry and Peg Bradley’s Backyard Barbecue on August 24. It is our annual fundraiser, indeed, our only fundraiser, and it fuels so many of the education programs we offer throughout the year. People describe Lynden as a hidden gem, and our not-very-visible work with K-12 students and teachers may be at the heart of that jewel. We serve about 4,000 children a year with intensive, place-based, hands-on programs at the intersection of art and nature. Our Innovative Educators Institute provides unique, sustained professional development for teachers over a period of three years or more, forging new models of arts integration. And we are slowly and methodically developing new projects, like our outdoor education pilot with our neighbors in the Brown Deer school district. None of this would be possible without the support of those who attend the barbecue or donate to our Education Fund.

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