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Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park announces 2018 calendar of events

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Meijer Gardens announces 2018 calendar of events

/Photo by Peter McDaniel

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of world’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences, presents its 2018 calendar of events. Meijer Gardens continues to incorporate its core mission of exploring the duality of art and nature in the upcoming year’s events. Internationally acclaimed sculpture exhibitions, exciting horticulture shows, seasonal indoor and outdoor displays, concerts and educational programming are enjoyed by over 750,000 visitors annually.

Events & Exhibitions:

Orchid Show

January 27 – 28

Fee: Free

The Grand Room will be filled with beautiful orchids, competing for ribbons and the coveted American Orchid Society Awards. Purchase an orchid to take home as well as hard-to-find orchid growing supplies.


“Drawn Into Form: Sixty Years of Drawings and Prints by Beverly Pepper” exhibition

February 2 – April 29

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is honored to premiere a selection of 70 works from American sculptor Beverly Pepper from approximately the early 1950s through present day. From sketches capturing scenes of everyday life and landscape views to abstract explorations of space and form to technical drawings and independent prints, the exhibition will evidence one of the most profound artistic careers in recent memory. Born in 1922, Pepper is among the most prodigious and prolific sculptors in Contemporary art and a pioneering female force in the visual arts. Her career spans more than six decades and her work is found in many of the world’s most important public and private collections, including a significant number of civic and government plazas and courtyards across the United States and Europe. Timed to coincide with her 95th birthday, the ever-active artist has donated her entire body of graphic work to Meijer Gardens. Nearly 900 objects, including drawings, sketchbooks, prints and some models have been given, creating one of the most important resources for graphic work related to Contemporary sculpture anywhere in the world.

Five Great Women Sculptors

Sunday, March 18, 2 pm

Suzanne Eberle, Professor of Art History, Kendall College of Art & Design

Fee: Included with admission


Monumental sculpture is often closely associated with men. However, throughout the history of Modern sculpture many important female artists, including Beverly Pepper, have worked in a large scale. Join us for a discussion of five female sculptors, Beverly Pepper, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Hepworth, and Louise Nevelson – and their giant impression on the history of art.


·A Maker’s Perspective: Artist-Led Gallery Walks

Tuesday, March 13, 6 pm

Mariel Versluis, Professor of Printmaking, Kendall College of Art & Design

Fee: Included with admission


Tuesday April 17, 6 pm

Adam Wolpa, Visual Artist specializing in printmaking

Fee: Included with admission


Join us for a gallery walk with the insight of an artist. Each walk will focus on Beverly Pepper’s transition from her early work of observational drawing to her mature artistic style of bold abstraction. Gain understanding into the techniques of many of the artworks in the exhibition including lithographs, etchings, layered paper collages, monotypes and modified mixed media prints.


A February Affair

What to do this winter? We’ve got the cure for cabin fever. Get out of the house and visit Meijer Gardens on Tuesday nights all February long. Our events will entertain, educate and enliven. Great for social networking, date night, or as a gift!


Roll in the Dough

Tuesday February 6 or 13, 6:30 – 9 pm

Fee: $60 members, $65 non-members


It dates back to antiquity and remains a modern staple: pasta, versatile, expedient, and enhanced to deliciousness by individual creativity. Our friends from The Local Epicurean, “America’s Hand Made Pasta Company,” welcome you to learn how to make this simple, yet dynamic fare from scratch. Come roll in the dough, enjoy spirits, premade ravioli, and take home the pasta you make with your own hands. Learn a skill you can enjoy for years to come. Food and drinks are all included in the ticket price.

Sight and Sound: Featuring MusArte Duo

Tuesday, February 20 or 27, 6:30 – 9 pm

Fee: $50 members, $55 non-members


MusArte Duo is a unique performance combining live painting and music. Paint along with artist Marlene Boonstra as she guides you through a nature scene in the style of Monet, while listening to the lilting sounds of Gail Saldatori on the violin. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and libations will be provided, and at the end of the evening, Marlene’s finished painting will be raffled off, so not only will you walk away with your own original work of art, but perhaps Marlene’s as well. Canvases, paint, and brushes will be provided, but participation in painting is optional; if you prefer, you can just sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds. Food and drinks are all included in the ticket price.

Animal Adventures: Surviving in the Wild

Saturdays, February 10 or February 24

10 11:30 am

Fee:  $5 per child and adult members; $7 per child and adult non-members. Ages 3 and older.
In collaboration with John Ball Zoo

Have fun exploring the survival techniques of a Chaco tortoise, hooded rats, emperor scorpions, and a New Caledonian gecko.  Enjoy watching live animal presentations, listening to animal stories, completing art projects, playing animal games, and trying your luck at animal challenges.  Perfect for ages 3 to 6, but all ages are welcome.  Come in from the cold and have some fun!  To register, visit or, or call Meijer Gardens at 616-975-3144 or John Ball Zoo at 616-336-4300.


“Fred and Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming” exhibition

March 1 – April 30

A guest favorite, the Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition features butterflies from around the world flying freely in the 5-story tropical conservatory. The 80-degree conservatory is filled with thousands of exotic butterflies from tropical regions across the globe. More than 40 different species of butterflies and moths make this an exciting and colorful exhibition. Throughout the exhibition, butterflies can be viewed drinking nectar from the flowering plants and feeding stations, congregating among stream beds and flying freely. Approximately 800 chrysalides are delivered to Meijer Gardens weekly. Visitors may watch delicate chrysalides and cocoons being placed in the Butterfly Bungalow, where the unique creatures transform and take their first flight.


Who Am I? A Butterfly Ballet

Saturday March 17, 10 am, 12:30 pm, 3 pm

Fee: $5 per child and adult member, $8 per child and adult non-member


Sunday March 18, 1 pm

Fee: $5 per child and adult member, $8 per child and adult non-member


Written by Meijer Gardens’ own Vickie Wilkinson, choreographed by Attila Mosolygo and performed by members of the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Company. Mark your calendars now for a thoroughly delightful butterfly ballet. Told through the eyes of a newly emerged butterfly, the story will captivate young and old alike. With colorful costumes, spectacular music and exquisite choreography, this enchanting performance will provide a unique and memorable experience.


Master Lecture Series: Secchia Garden Lecture – David Culp

Tuesday April 24, 7 pm

Fee: Included with admission

Learn how to achieve a non-stop parade of color in your garden by applying the technique of layering – interplanting many different species in the same area so that as one plant passes its peak, another takes over. Speaker David Culp will inspire you with ideas from his own 2-acre garden.


Great Gardens Party

May 9

Meijer Gardens’ annual fundraiser features cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a sit-down dinner, live and silent auctions, a raffle and much more. The live and silent auction highlights exciting trips, unique items as well as plant material for your garden. Horticulture experts will be on hand to answer any questions about caring for plants. All proceeds support Meijer Gardens’ mission of promoting the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts. The 2018 Great Gardens Party will be held in memory of Eileen DeVries, former board member and driving force behind the event.


Michigan All-State Bonsai Show

May 12 – 13

Fee: Free

Enjoy stunning bonsai trees on display in the Grand Room. Shop for bonsai, specialty pots and growing supplies from a great selection of vendors.  Attend free demonstrations and watch bonsai artists at work.


“Masayuki Koorida: Beyond Existence” sculpture exhibition

May 25 – August 19

Well known for sculpture installations like Existence in The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, Masayuki Koorida has a broad and compelling repertoire. Born and trained in Kyoto, Japan and now living and working in Shanghai, China, Koorida is among the most eloquent voices in Contemporary art. His works speak of traditions in Asian art yet are often innovative in terms of both materials and form. This exhibition is among the artist’s first in the United States. Both works of sculpture and works on paper will be included collectively, capturing the main stylistic currents of his aesthetic. This exhibition was developed in partnership with the artist and is unique to Meijer Gardens.






Fifth Third Bank Summer Concert Series

June – early September

Eclectic selections of world-renowned musicians headline the annual Summer Concert Series at the Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater. The 1900-seat amphitheater lawn is a great place to enjoy a picnic and great music in the summer weather. The full lineup is announced in April.

Rose Show

June 16 – 17

Fee: Included with paid admission

Enjoy a variety of rose blossoms on display, all locally grown and carefully prepped for this judged show. Vote for the most fragrant rose and get your rose growing questions answered.


Tuesday Evening Music Club

Tuesdays in July and August

July begins the Tuesday Evening Music Club, a series featuring West Michigan’s finest performers. Guests are encouraged to enjoy the entire facility in addition to the concerts. Bring a picnic, dance and enjoy the beautiful summer weather.


Daylily Show

July 14

Fee: Included with paid admission

Daylily flowers last for just one day and so does this show. See an amazing variety of daylily flowers that vary in size from less than one inch across to almost 10 inches.


Dahlia Show

August 25 – 26

Fee: Included with paid admission

Marvel at the variety of colors, shapes and sizes of dahlia flowers and view creative floral arrangements


“Process and Presence: Contemporary Disability Sculpture” sculpture exhibition

September 14 – January 6, 2018
(ArtPrize: September 19 – October 7)

DisArt and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park are proud to announce an innovative exhibition that offers audiences a survey of contemporary disability sculpture through artists whose work represents local, national, and global perspectives on the lived experience of disability. Through the finest examples of three-dimensional practice (sculpture, performance, installation, and video art), this exhibition emphasizes the relationship between disability and the fundamental human experiences of change and embodiment. This innovative project is organized jointly by DisArt, a Grand Rapids based arts and culture organization promoting the full participation of disabled people in the arts, and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The exhibition offers audiences a survey of contemporary disability sculpture through artists whose work represents local, national, and global perspectives on the lived experience of disability. Officially beginning the Friday prior to ArtPrize, Process and Presence: Contemporary Disability Sculpture will be on display as Meijer Gardens’ fall exhibition from September 14 through January 6, 2019. ArtPrize runs from Wednesday, September 19 through Sunday, October 7, 2018.

Cornerstone to the exhibition is the sister-state relationship between the State of Michigan and the Shiga, Prefecture, Japan – a region long celebrated for its commitment to artists with disabilities. A survey of contemporary disability sculpture, the exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the sister-state relationship and expands globally to include dynamic collection of objects contextualized by both contemporary and legacy artists from Michigan, Europe, Australia, the United States, and Japan.

The exhibition coincides with DisArt’s Process and Presence season of events which includes a fashion show (September 22), lecture series (December - January), and an international conference (October 27-28), all to be held at Meijer Gardens. Visitors will be welcomed into the exhibition by several innovative accessibility measures designed carefully by DisArt and Meijer Gardens to encourage the full participation of visitors, including audio description, altered installation practices, and other digital resources. 

“Chrysanthemums and More!” exhibition

September 21 – October 28

This annual celebration of the autumn season features an extensive chrysanthemum display with hundreds of flowering plants in both interior and exterior areas. Indoor highlights include varieties on display along the winding BISSEL Corridor and in the Seasonal Display Greenhouse, while outdoor plantings are featured in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden, Michigan’s Farm Garden and Volunteer Tribute Garden. Color tours, tram rides and seasonal children’s activities are available.


Master Lecture Series: Physician As Writer Lecture - Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee

October 2

Fee: Included with admission

This lecture features doctors who are also highly accomplished writers and speakers, as we explore the parallels of writing and medicine and the power of art—in this case the written word—to heal. This year’s speaker is Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of books including ‘The Emperor of All Maladies’ and ‘The Gene: An Intimate History’.


Fall Bonsai Show

October 6 – 7

Fee: Free

See a variety of bonsai on display, from trees in early stages of training to lovely older trees. Watch bonsai artists at work and shop for bonsai trees as well as bonsai tools and supplies.


Herb and Gourd Fest

October 13 – 14

Fee: Free

Discover a variety of ways to use herbs and gourds in this fall event. A variety of gourds will be available for purchase.


13th Annual C. Schoenknecht & W. Paul Sculpture Lecture

A Conversation with Bill Woodrow

October 16th, 7 pm

Each October, the C. Schoenknecht & W. Paul Sculpture Lecture brings to Meijer Gardens an internationally acclaimed sculptor to speak about his or her work. Past sculptors include Jenny Holzer, David Nash, Bernar Venet and Beverly Pepper.

Fee: Free for members, included with admission for nonmembers


Holiday Gift Show

November 3

Fee: Free

Get your gift on at Meijer Gardens! Members and the public alike are welcome. This highly anticipated annual event attracts shoppers regionally, so shop early for the best selection. We’ll even treat you to free gift-wrapping. Members receive a 10% discount on their purchases.


“Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World” exhibition

November 20 – January 6, 2019

Experience the most magical time of year as Meijer Gardens transforms into a world of winter magic with the glow of nearly 400,000 lights, 42 captivating international trees and displays, strolling carolers, Santa visits and more surprises than can fit under the tree. The Railway Garden, a holiday favorite, winds its way through three separate indoor gardens.


Christmas Cabaret

December 6

The Christmas Cabaret is Meijer Garden’s signature holiday celebration. This annual fundraising gala is an opportunity to ring in the holiday season in the most festive of ways. Guests will enjoy the Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition during cocktail hour and will then be treated to a delicious plated dinner while enjoying holiday entertainment.


Please Note 
All exhibition dates and titles are subject to change. To confirm information, or to obtain additional information and images, contact John VanderHaagen at 616-975-3155, or [email protected]

Exhibitions are included with admission to Meijer Gardens. Hours are Sunday, 11:00 AM–5:00 PM; Monday, 9:00 AM‐5:00 PM; Tuesday 9:00 AM‐9:00 PM; Wednesday‐Saturday,  9:00 AM‐5:00 PM; unless otherwise noted. Admission rates are Adults (14 ‐ 64): $14.50, Seniors (65 and  older): $11.00, Students (w/ student ID): $11.00, Children (5 ‐ 13): $7.00, Children (3 ‐ 4): $4.00, Children (2  and younger): Free. 


About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park serves over 750,000 visitors annually. 158-acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Rodin, Oldenburg, Ai Weiwei, Moore, Serra, Bourgeois and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Ai Weiwei, Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Dine.  In June 2015, the 8–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened.  Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Zhang Huan and Guiseppe Penone, among others.


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