A little over a year ago, I was walking the magical Woodlands Faerie Trail at the Zilker Botanical Gardens with two of my granddaughters and a friend. There I was introduced to Dr. Cynthia D. Klemmer, Environmental Conservation Program Manager. My friend was very kind when she suggested that Dr. Klemmer should see my botanical prints.
That comment resulted in a series of conversations and a first-time event for the Botanical Gardens and Nature Preserve – an exhibit featuring an artist’s work. More than 40 of my flower designs have hung in the auditorium of the Gardens since July 19 and will be there through the end of the month (you have four days to get over there and see them!).
When Dr. Klemmer and I first spoke, I was so excited about all of the possibilities I could hardly stand it. My thoughts were, “I want to be here! I want my art associated with this highly thought of, revered, institution. This is so cool.”
Never did I ask what was in it for me beyond the opportunity to take my (hopefully) inspirational art to a broader audience. I just wanted to show my art and let people focus on the beauty of nature.
I went home and wrote the most inspired proposal I have ever written! I proposed multiple themed events that could take place around an art exhibit throughout the year including musical evenings, children’s activities, and many more.
After re-reading the proposal for this article, I realized that even though many of the activities centered around flowers, the language was very inclusive. One of the objectives read, “Provide opportunities for artists using various mediums to show their work in the Botanical Garden Center.” I realize that I was trying to open the Gardens’ doors to artist of all backgrounds and skills, not just for me alone.
I proposed a three-month show and even offered to change out the art at about six weeks to encourage people to revisit the exhibit. It ended up being a six-week show, with well-attended opening reception (more than 80 people) and many, many guests. I drew a model of the auditorium and moved prints around in my head until the show flowed. I learned about doing an exhibit of this magnitude. And I learned about “being there” because I wanted to be.
Throughout the process there were several things that happened (or didn’t happen) where I could have said, “No, that’s a deal breaker. I’m not going to be able to do this.” But my need to be out there was greater than any need for perfection.
I know that in my own life, I’ve more than once refused to settle for less than perfection and have missed out on opportunities.
The outcomes for the show at the Gardens? I’m not sure of all of them, but I feel like it influenced the invitation I received to participate in “Contemporary Venice” an international art show in Venice, Italy. And that may be just the beginning!
I am so blessed.