Origami in the Garden Unfolds at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Courtesy Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

We’ve all done it—or least received one at some time or another. We’re talking about the origami paper game, or finger game, or fortune teller game, wherein paper is folded (after messages are written on the squares) into a puzzle-like box that is opened to reveal a secret message. Or that tiny horse, bird or flower made of folded paper given as a memento or gift. The Japanese word “origami” actually comes from “ori,” meaning to fold, and “kami,” meaning paper. The art and craft of origami is believed to have been brought by Buddhist monks to Japan in the 6th century.

Now scale up those tiny sculptures to gargantuan size. Imagine a monumental outdoor sculpture exhibition that captures the delicate paper-folding art form rendered in metal. “Origami in the Garden” opened at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum April 28. It includes 25 displays of 40 sculptures crafted in bronze, aluminum and steel by Santa Fe artists Kevin Box and Jennifer Box. They created the massive cranes, bison, horses, butterflies and more in collaboration with such origami experts as Tim Armijo, Te Jui Fu, Beth Johnson, Michael G. LaFosse and Robert J. Lang. You can learn more about the process here.

That’s just what’s happening outside, in the gardens near the Oswald Visitor Center. Inside the center, two similar exhibitions are taking place in the Reedy Gallery. “Inside Out” showcases 24 artworks, including six unfolding wall hangings, six cast maquettes, six origami paper models, and six crease-pattern wall hangings. “Harmony with Nature” is an exhibition featuring works by local artists inspired by Japanese art.

The opening reception for the origami-inspired extravaganza is May 17, from 5:30 to 7: 30 p.m. Members $10, non-members $20, kids 15 and under, $5. Otherwise the exhibitions are free with gate admission and will be on site until October 21. Check here for information on folding workshops, evening programs and other events.

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