Visitors to Dyck Arboretum of the Plains this fall will be treated to a stunning art installation, “Parallels,” depicting elements of the prairie in a scale that is larger than life. In October, Prairie Works Design Inc. artists Ann Zerger and Chip Parker installed five metal sculptures depicting prairie grasses, butterflies and caterpillars on the arboretum grounds. In addition, sixteen photographs and video footage capturing moments in the artists’ Moundridge-based studio, are on display in the Visitor Center.
Though the sculptures have been on display since October, the entire multi-media installation will be available for public viewing at the arboretum from November 26 through mid-December. Zerger will present an artist talk in the Visitor Center on Wednesday, December 1, at 4 p.m. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and during special events, such as the Winter Luminary Walk, and the grounds are open to the public every day from dawn until dusk.
Zerger, Professor Emeritus of Art at McPherson College, and Parker, an award-winning architect, returned to Zerger’s family farm in 1988 and opened their architecture and sculpture studio near Moundridge. In more recent years, they have developed a portion of their land in southwestern McPherson county into what they call an ”Eco-Art-Sphere,” which includes both permanent and ephemeral sculptures. In addition, the artists have planted native wildflower and grass species to create a five-acre monarch waystation.
On their website, the artists state, “The focus of this eco-arts sphere was to create a permanent environmental installation on a portion of land that has been in Ann’s family for over 100 years that would celebrate the Great Plains prairie and the local and migratory wildlife that depend on this environment for existence. The intent was to create an installation that would impede the return of this land to agriculture or any other type of production as well as be a catalyst for a visceral conversation with the viewer on the beauty, diversity and serenity of the prairie.”
All elements of the installation are available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds being generously donated to the arboretum by the artists. Inquire in the arboretum office for pricing. For more information about the artists, visit pwdstudios.com. For more information about Dyck Arboretum of the Plains, visit dyckarboretum.org.