Living Willow Dreams

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on August 8th, 2018

In my June 27 blog, “As the Willow Grows,” I introduced artist and landscape architect Bonnie Gale and her assistant Jonna Evans, who were undertaking the creation of a willow structure in the Museum’s sculpture garden. Once completed, Bonnie named the piece Living Willow Dreams and said:


Upon completion, I was struck by the relative height and proportion of the structure; it seems to draw energy upward. Combined with the open oculus and bench for sitting, the structure invites contemplation and dreaming. As the willow is alive and growing, one is surrounded by a soft, green mantle. Hence, a very good place to dream!



I’m amazed at how quickly the willow sprouted. Museum staff have pruned the growth multiple times, following Bonnie’s instructions to trim back growth to no more than four inches in length to maintain the sculpture’s shape.


Facilities manager, Dave Jones, and assistant Ralph Fischer, communicate weekly with Bonnie sending photos of the sculpture, which provide “real-time” spot-checks for any problems that may arise.


The bench is a wonderful place to rest and a good vantage point for viewing other sculptures in the garden. It’s also a fine place to meditate or daydream.


Before returning to New York, Bonnie shared her thoughts and impressions about Living Willow Dreams and other work for the Museum’s audio tour app. Curator Catie Anderson edited the video: here’s the link.


Bonnie will return to the Woodson Art Museum next summer for public programs to complement the exhibition Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora, June 8 – August 25, 2019. Bonnie also will lead workshops in basketry; stay tuned for dates and details.


Check out Living Willow Dreams in the sculpture garden now and throughout the months ahead to watch its seasonal changes.

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