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Go Ask Mom

Artsplosure's Impressionist Garden brings art to life

Posted May 17, 2012

Artsplosure opens its Impressionist Garden to the public Friday morning. But my kids and I got a peek at this art installation on Fayetteville Street's City Plaza on a rainy, Thursday afternoon.

My seven-year-old's initial impression: "This is cool!"

My two-year-old's reaction: To kiss the face of a bronze statue of a little girl because it was so life like.

The Impressionist Garden takes its inspiration from Impressionist painters Renoir, Manet, Monet and Caillebotte and turns them into life-size, painted bronze statues. They sit in a temporary garden setting, which was wet and a bit wind blown when we were there Thursday, on City Plaza. Impressionist Garden Artsplosure's Impressionist Garden features painted bronze sculptures

The exhibit is free. It's open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. If you're looking to beat the crowds, I recommend visiting on Friday if you can make it.

The sculptures, by artist Seward Johnson, are quite stunning. They really do appear lifted out of the canvas and brought into our three dimensional world, as the press release says. There are two girls, inspired by Renoir's Two Sisters (On the Terrace), sitting at a table. There's a young fifer, inspired by Manet's "The Fifer." And there's Monet as a visiting artist painting Memorial Auditorium, among others.

The sculptures provide a great opportunity for kids to actually interact with art. People are welcome to touch the sculptures, kiss them (as my two-year-old did) and otherwise interact with them.

"They want you to touch them," said Terri Dollar, Artsplosure's program manager.

Dollar tells me that there will be QR codes to scan with your smart phone, which will take you to a page with more information about each of the paintings. An artist will be available on Saturday and Sunday for educational tours, which will be geared toward whoever is on the tour.

Artsplosure also will place easels and drawing pads around the area for visitors to create their own masterpieces.

"It's a very unique way for people to experience a classic work of art," Dollar said.

I definitely agree.

For more information about the Impressionist Garden, click here.

After this weekend, the sculptures will be scattered around Raleigh, including Marbles Kids Museum, the N.C. Museum of History and the Raleigh City Museum, for the next few months.


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