Arts / Museums

Monumental Origami Sculptures to Take Root In Fort Worth Botanic Garden — A 50th Anniversary Gift Like No Other

How to See the Unique Wonders of Artists Jennifer and Kevin Box

BY // 07.21.23

The first time I came across an origami sculpture from artists Jennifer and Kevin Box was on vacation in Vail, Colorado. The sculpture was one of the Box’s famous Rock Paper Scissors. I was smitten. The next time was during a rain storm in Santa Fe when my husband and I ducked into Kay Contemporary Art Gallery on Canyon Road, taking shelter during a brief downpour. Box sculptures from tabletop-size figures to garden sculptures like Gathering Peace, dripping with rain in the gallery’s adobe walled garden, kept us enthralled.

Now, 18 of these monumental sculptures, which are inspired by origami – the centuries-old Japanese art of folding paper ― will be on view at Fort Worth’s Japanese Gardens. Just in time for this year’s 50th Anniversary of the gardens.

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden will evoke the wonders of nature when these origami sculptures are installed throughout the garden. They’ll be sure to enliven anyone’s regular Botanic Garden stroll. Florigami in the Garden will be a six-month outdoor art exhibit.

It is scheduled to run from August 19 through February 14, putting the creations of Jennifer and Kevin Box, two art innovators from Santa Fe, centerstage.

Paper Navigator by Kevin Box recalls ancient navigators.
Paper Navigator by Kevin Box recalls ancient navigators.

The first time Origami in the Garden was shown in the state of Texas was at the San Antonio Botanical Garden back in 2021 and 2022. But, this will be the Texas debut of Florigami.

Ranging from just a few feet tall to more than 30 feet, the pieces will portray a variety of forms, including animals, flowers and various geometric shapes. Some of the Boxes’ famous works include paper cranes taking flight, a magnificent flying Pegasus, floral wind spinners and galloping horses. Others are more abstract folded paper scenes ― including crumpled papers with deeper meaning.

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“Origami presents a simple life metaphor: We begin with a blank page, what we do with it is up to us and the possibilities are endless,” Kevin Box says in a statement.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden’s Golden Anniversary Gift

The six-month exhibit coincides with the 50th anniversary Fort Worth’s iconic Japanese Garden, and was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor. These Box works are the perfect anniversary gift to the Japanese Garden.

“Children will especially appreciate the emerging butterflies, big birds, grazing deer and blooming flowers — all of which celebrate the process of plant pollination, an educational concept we highlight on our campus Pollinator Pathway and in our family education courses,” Fort Worth Botanic Garden president and CEO Patrick Newman says.

The Japanese Garden was a collaboration of Kingsley Wu, with the Main Torii Gate being designed by Fort Worth architect Albert Komatsu & Associates. It opened in 1973 and with its koi ponds, pagodas, rock garden and bridges, it has quite literally grown to be a showpiece of the larger Botanic Gardens landscape.

Emerging Peace tells the story of the lifecycle of a butterfly. It is another work from Kevin Box Studio.
Emerging Peace tells the story of the lifecycle of a butterfly. It is another work from Kevin Box Studio.

One of the highlights of Florigami is called Scents of Gratitude. It measures more than 30 feet tall and will be located in the Rose Garden. This piece was a year-long project for Kevin Box ― incorporating 77 origami-inspired flower components. Most of the flowers are kinetic, gently turning with the breeze. Sitting nearby are a butterfly and a crane.

Talking about the the colorful powder-coated bouquet, Box calls it is a “firework of celebration and joy. It was the biggest expression of gratitude, in every sense of the word, that I could manifest from my heart.”

Entrance to the Florigami In the Garden exhibit is included with any Fort Worth Botanic Garden admission. FWBG members get in for free.

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