While we’re home in Connecticut, my family and I are always on the lookout for nearby locations where the innovative spirit of Disney is at work. Living near New York City, we are fortunate that such locations are in abundance. One such location, the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), is enhanced with its current exhibit – CHIHULY. Artist Dale Chihuly constructs fanciful glass structures in a variety of vibrant colors. His pieces have been displayed around the world, including at several botanical gardens. This current exhibit displays pieces made specifically for the Botanical Garden, as well as some of his early works, paper designs, and a few comparatively small pieces for sale (at a hefty price) in the gift shop. The way these pieces marry technology and nature to create immersive art experiences is not only in line with the mission of the Disney parks – it is the sort of creative enterprise that Walt himself would have drawn from.
This experience brought to mind two Disney experiences in particular. EPCOT’s flower and garden show brings Future World to life with a variety of flora and related exhibits that explore innovative growing techniques, enticing visual displays, and creative recipes. This celebration of plant life and its relation to our daily lives is celebrated in a similar manner at NYBG’s CHIHULY exhibit. But even more strikingly, Disney’s new Animal Kingdom land, Pandora, features bioluminescent plants of fantasy interspersed with natural flora. It’d virtually impossible not to spot a strong resemblance to the two – Pandoran plants and Chihuly’s creations twist and undulate in creative ways that suggest life and motion, and both exhibits challenged the line between nature and human creation. Ultimately, I think the exhibits best speak for themselves:
by Kathryn Blanco
Photo Credit: Kathryn Blanco