Philadelphia’s Morris Arboretum has long played home to a unique collection of plant life and artworks from around the globe. Now, for the first time, the 92-acre park can add “Wind Forest” to its historic collection of landscape designs.
A new exhibition called Morris Arboretum in Motion: The Kinetic Sculptures of Lyman Whitaker brings more than 50 handmade kinetic wind sculptures to the arboretum.
The whimsical creations decorate four garden areas throughout the park and are on view through October 9.
- Morris Arboretum in Motion: The Kinetic Sculptures of Lyman Whitaker runs April 1-October 9.
- There are more than 50 wind sculptures on display, ranging from 5 to 27 feet tall.
- See the exhibition when Morris Arboretum’s cherry blossoms are in bloom. Tours happen daily through April 20.
- Access to the special exhibit is included in the price of general admission.
Utah-based artist Lyman Whitaker has been making kinetic wind sculptures since the early 1980s, striving to create unique moving structures that are organic in nature and completely dependent on the elements to achieve their mesmerizing effects.
Whitaker’s creations, which use robust metals like copper and stainless steel, can be as short as five feet or reach as far as 27 feet in the air.
The works are bold and creative — some recalling dramatic gothic shapes of the Art Deco era, others looking plain alien. But like snowflakes, they’re all one-of-a-kind, made to interact with the wind in marvelously different ways.
Where to Find the Wind Forests
Whitaker has set up his wind sculptures in four major groupings, called “Wind Forests,” throughout the 92-acre arboretum. You’ll find them dancing in the wind in the Sculpture Garden, Azalea Meadow, English Park and at the Widener Visitors Center.
Take notice of the sculptures’ positioning and their surroundings. Whitaker plants his sculptures in environments like gardens and forests that depend on the natural elements for movement and sustainability. His creations then move with the surrounding fauna, challenging viewers’ perceptions about the natural world and their own attachment to nature.
Kinetic Sculptures and Cherry Blossom Trees
Insider tip: Catch the exhibition while the arboretum’s dazzling cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. One-hour Pop Up Cherry Blossom Tours head out every single day at 1 p.m. through April 14. These are free with garden admission.
The arboretum also hosts a Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that features a drumming crew, a traditional tea demonstration and a tour of some of the arboretum’s most Japanese-inspired vistas.
Lastly, on May 27, celebrate the grand opening of the Garden Railway. This year is the 20th anniversary of the miniature locomotives, which wind their way around a quarter-mile track within the garden grounds. It’s a perfect complement to the “in motion” theme of the Whitaker exhibition.
For details about all these and more, go here.