Inniswood Metro Gardens Monday, May 28 2007 

Grace & Mary Innis

Grace & Mary Innis

Grace and Mary Innis donated their Westerville home and property to the Columbus Metro Parks in 1972. Their 37 acre estate has grown to 121 acres, including a nature preserve as well as landscaped flowerbeds and gardens. The sculpture of the sisters as children honors their memory by celebrating the complexity of nature and the inquisitiveness of childhood. A turtle joined us on the gravel path in the nature preserve. Water snakes, one slithering and the other with head upright camouflaged like a stick, were observed in water from Spring Run Creek. Inniswood boasts more than 2,000 species of plants, specialty collections of hostas, daffodils, daylilies, conifers, and several theme gardens. It is a pleasant respite offering an opportunity to nurture the child in each of us.

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Asian Festival Sunday, May 27 2007 

Asian Festival

Asian Festival

The annual Asian Festival held in Franklin Park on the Saturday and Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend seems to be growing in popularity if the increased number of booths and food offerings are any indication. This multicultural event features entertainment such as Hans Utter’s pulsuating sitar and the colorful costumes of the Bhanra Troupe from Canada as they performed physically demanding dances. The sepak takraw competition was particularly riveting. How do they volley the ball with only their legs, feet, back and head? The boats representing asian countries float with abandon in the small lake adding to the cultural decorations found throughout the grounds. The Franklin Park Conservatory biomes were hot despite fans. The butterflies, including the deep blue hues of the common morpho and the cream and red designs of the golden helicon, were constantly in motion.

John Bryan State Park & Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve Saturday, May 26 2007 

Clifton Mill

Clifton Mill

Hiking along the Little Miami is a treat any time of year, but the best plan is to visit this area near the middle of April in order to take in the magnificant wildflower display. Descending the steps near the John Bryan State Park stone shelterhouse, one crosses the concrete bridge and walks along the south side of the Little Miami. Take time to enjoy each ravine with its gurgling water. The trail crosses a footbridge to the north side of the Little Miami where you can continue into the Clifton State Nature Preserve. Take note of the slump block cave and the trickle from the largest waterfall in the area. At the Bear’s Den gathering place the trail continues along the Clifton Gorge, featuring excellent views of the narrows. Meander around the historic Clifton Mill, noting the claim of 3.5 million lights during the Christmas season. The return trip follows the Cincinnati-to-Pittsburgh stage coach road along the north side of the river. Before beginning a hike, consider exploring some of the shops in Yellow Springs and eating a wholesome lunch at The Winds. After a hike, stop at the Young’s Jersey Dairy for some refreshing ice cream treats. Great hiking awaits and rewards!

Monet Impressions Saturday, May 19 2007 

The Cleveland Museum of Art is the last stop for the “Monet in Normandy” traveling exhibition. What a sumptuous exhibit it is. Organized in chronological order, the presentation features similarly themed works in each space. Written notes for each painting and the audio recording for some works complement one another and gave this viewer insight in the growth of Claude Monet’s style from carricatures and realism to a leading innovator of Impressionism. As one moves through the exhibit, we gain insight into his personal life while discovering the importance of place in his landscapes. Looking at the actual painting is a very different experience than looking at a picture of the painting. To appreciate Monet, one needs to examine the texture and pattern of the brush strokes he uses in each painting. His creative use of a comma, for example, can punctuate a scene. Likewise, his recording of light at different times of the day captures the wonder of place. Nocturnal light also plays an important part in A Seascape, Shipping by Moonlight. The shifting shimmer of moonlight dances on the waves. His paintings at Étretat depict novel views of these unusual cliffs and arches. Although we only see a couple of his grainstack pictures, they are enough to get a sense of how he is capturing changes in light, atmosphere, weather conditions, and point of view. The size of the stack in Grainstack in the Sunlight extends beyond the canvas. In another of his later themes, View of Rouen, we see an ephemeral cathedral tower reaching, blending with the sky. From his paintings of waterlilies and the Japanese bridge, we gain a sense of his contemplative water garden in Giverny. In Water Lilies the flowers approach their actual size as Monet captures where light, air, water, and plant life meet. Seeing this exhibit was truly inspiring.

Maestro Günther Herbig Tuesday, May 15 2007 

Günther Herbig was the guest conductor of the Columbus Symphony this past weekend. Herbig, the Columbus Symphony’s artistic advisor and principal guest conductor from 2004 to 2006, is now the chief conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra Sarbrücken. The maestro was outstanding once again in drawing out the best from the local musicians in the performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E Major. I’m always impressed with such virtuosity without a score. This great evening of music started with the young pianist Andrew Armstrong giving a fine interpretation of Mozart’s Concerto No. 23 in A Major for Piano and Orchestra, K. 488. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a birthday!

Modern Troubadours Saturday, May 12 2007 

The last Six String Concert of the season featured two talented troubadours.  Loved the voice of Joe Jencks whose vibrant musical presentation speaks to the human spirit through solidarity with working people.  Likewise, John Flynn, a “hopeful pessimist,”  shared some engaging stories during his performance of compelling songs raising social consciousness.  Both artists offered spiritual themes addressing social justice issues to a small, but supportive audience.  Such music speaks to the soul while nurturing community.

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