One of the treats of re-visiting favorite locations is learning how they look in different seasons of the year. We've been in Salt Lake City several times, now, in the fall and early winter but this was our first visit in late Spring. The bright blue sky, and snow-capped mountains which surround the city (now rapidly losing their brilliant white coating), and the green hillsides are spectacular. Many houses in the city present lavish displays of flowers, too.
We remembered our previous visit to the city's Red Butte Botanical Garden on the campus of the University of Utah. It overlooks Sculpture with cacti downtown Salt Lake City, being tucked into one of the nearby canyons. On our last visit we had admired an outdoor exhibit of Zimbabwe sculptures and hoped the curator had found something new for us.
Robert Wick is a newspaperman with a passion for making sculpture. His exhibit, Living Bronze, will be at the Red Butte Garden through the summer and it's well worth a visit. His large pieces are somewhat abstract, although most of them have some human characteristics. A Tree's Tree Wick's bronzes are intricate, humorous, and attention-grabbing. Almost all of them include plantings of cactus, agave or other desert plants which soften the statue and surprise the eye -- hence the name Living Bronze.
As always, the garden itself is a pleasure. Today a couple of first-grade field trips shared the garden with us, each small person Shiva carrying his or her clipboard where drawings and lists of flowers were growing. One group was tasting edible flowers, and all of them echoed our thoughts as we crossed through the Fragrance Garden filled with lilacs -- How good it all smells!
We learned that the Red Butte Garden has been incorporating major exhibitions of large sculptures each summer for many years now. To us it's very important, because it's difficult to see displays of dozens of large works (Wick's largest piece on display, 12 Buddhas, is 18 feet tall) anywhere; it's usually too big an undertaking for an art museum. So the exhibits we've enjoyed at Red Butte are just as wonderful for the great sculpture as for the great plants and flowers. How many botanical gardens have a curator?