Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bounteous Promotion

Here’s a city that really knows how to get the most out of its public attractions…especially one backed by Turner Broadcasting. So Fusillos and Barons went off to see the Atlanta Botanical Gardens on Tuesday.

The area has changed radically since I was a kid. I left Atlanta in 1968 so I missed it: the Gardens were started in ’73. Now at the north end of Piedmont Park, the Botanical Gardens are vivid and accessible. It’s not just the shrubs, trees and flowers – although the Orchid House is pretty damned outstanding all by itself.

For about the next six months, The Botanical Gardens feature Niki in the Garden, the largest exhibition of outdoor sculptures by internationally renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle ever presented. The sculptures are huge! Wondrous! The artist’s signature Nanas are everywhere – powerful, exuberant women celebrating life, dancing, usually (but not always) in ponds and pools with water spouting everywhere.

The big garden spaces are great settings for mythical figures. Enormous animals. Athletes and totems. Some of them “reach as high as 18 feet and span up to 25 feet long.” They’re brilliantly colored or enameled. Covered in glass. Ceramics. Semi-precious stones and mirrors. So you get colors and textures and jangly slashes of reflected light.

The kids love every one of them…hundreds of children this past Tuesday AM, arriving in great fleets from daycare centers, brought in small squadrons by moms. All goggle-eyed at the fantastical art pieces, climbing over and around and underneath most of them.

I wonder where Houston would put something quite like this? I wonder if Houston could promote on this scale – especially if there’s no automatic national TV coverage like the Super Bowl? I do wish we’d give it a try. Thank you, Bob and Edith: it was a wonderful day.

PS: Bob sent pictures, but Blogger is having trouble with photos again. I'll try first thing in the AM.

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