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Art and nature connect at Gainesville botanical garden
Atlanta Botanical Garden
A new temporary installation is completed at the Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville Friday, March 11, 2022. Artist Sean Kennedy's "Nature Connects" is an installation of 15 sculptures made from Lego bricks placed throughout the park. - photo by By Scott Rogers

Those who’ve ever pondered the interconnectedness of the natural world have an opportunity to reflect anew on a stroll through the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville.

The garden is the temporary home of “Nature Connects,” a 15-sculpture display built by New York-based artist Sean Kenney using more than 450,000 Lego blocks. At the intersection of precision and whimsy, the exhibit is designed to inspire budding artists, ecologists and builders to “dream big.” 

According to garden director Mildred Fockele, the exhibit furthers the garden’s tradition of combining nature and art.

An interpretive panel accompanies each sculpture, revealing the number of hours and Lego blocks put into building it — like the roseate skimmer dragonfly, which took 500 hours to build, or the 68,000-brick ornate peacock — as well as other details and environmental facts specific to the piece. Garden guests who pause by the monarch butterfly sculpture, for instance, will leave with more insight into the creature’s migration patterns and endangerment.


“Nature Connects” exhibit at Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Gainesville 

When: Now through May 30

Where: 1911 Sweetbay Drive, Gainesville

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday

How much: $14 for adults, $12 for children aged 3 to 12, free for garden members and children younger than 3

More info: atlantabg.org/gainesville-garden
Atlanta Botanical Garden
A new temporary art installation made from Lego bricks are ready for viewing at the Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville Friday, March 11, 2022. Artist Sean Kennedy's "Nature Connects" is an installation of 15 sculptures made from Lego bricks and placed throughout the park. - photo by By Scott Rogers


“It’s a fun way to explore science,” Fockele said.

Longtime visitors may recall “Nature Connects” was one of the garden’s first exhibits when it opened in 2015. Fockele said all-new pieces comprise the latest collection, which visitors won’t be able to find at the Atlanta garden.

“We’re the perfect scale for the pieces; they fit right into the garden beds, we nestle them in the plants,” Fockele said. “When you see them in person and you see the detail in the pieces and how (Kenney) gets the curves and the colors, they’re all made up of the little bitty Lego blocks. It’s really incredible.”

For artists young and old who find inspiration in the exhibit and can’t contain their creativity until they get home, the garden has dedicated a couple of stations to build-your-own Lego creations.

“Legos have inspired generations,” Fockele said. “We see grandparents and parents and children here, and they’ve all played with Legos in some form or another. Let your creativity run crazy. You may not be the best Lego artist, but if you have fun and enjoy it, that’s what creativity and exploring art is about.

Prospective visitors can learn more about the garden and plan their visit online.