Well, spring has finally sprung. It stopped snowing and the drizzle is gone (at least as I write this). It’s time to wake up from hibernation and head to the great outdoors.
With the advent of spring, art thrives in nature throughout Southern Indiana. For a whimsy afternoon that tickles the inner child, consider stopping by Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden (1011 Utica-Charlestown Road, 812-282-0524).
“I tell people there is no rhyme or reason to this, you just go where your instincts take you,” says Bob Hill, who co-owns Hidden Hill with his wife Janet in addition to writing columns for The Courier-Journal and co-hosting the gardening show “Homegrown” with Jeanine Wiche on WFPL-FM.
Make your way around the eight-acre Utica wonderland, past the pink bathtub surrounded by lush flowers and greenery, and you’ll discover art springing from the most unlikely of places, including a stainless steel kitchen sink rescued from Churchill Downs during its recent renovations. And how can you miss the 120-foot caterpillar built out of 26 wooden tables?
“We wanted a fence, but not really a fence, just something that separated us from our neighbors,” Bob says of the piece.
You can gather ideas for your own garden while perusing the sculptures and hard-to-find plants, including croscosmia, an orange perennial from Hill’s Irish homeland.
Opening weekend, April 4-6, features local artists as well as the annual “Kite Flying in our Pasture” spring extravaganza.
Also worth checking out is the work of artist Jeff Reinhardt, who sculpts everything from functional barbeque utensils and gardening tools to the gigantic iron “Lock Ness Monsterette Rosella” that haunts Hidden Hill. Reinhardt and Hill collaborate on large projects like this one nearly every year, Reinhardt says. “But I didn’t start doing sculpture before meeting Bob.”
Continue your spring inhale by traveling to Mt. Saint Francis, Ind., to the Mary Anderson Art Center (812-923-8602, www.maryandersoncenter.org), where art plays as much of a role in the environment as the lake, wooded paths and rolling hills. Executive director Lisa Angell says the artist colony is a particular gem because it is small and located within a monastery.
For a look at nature-inspired art, view the current show “Atmospheres. Costumes. Vessels. Dolls.” through May 31. Oregon and Indiana landscapes were the inspiration for plein air painter Emily Jane Butler. Also on display are fiber art sculptures by Louisville artist Michelle Amos. There’s an artist reception on Saturday, April 19. —Amanda Arnold, [email protected]