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Head down to Sarasota for 5 events celebrating Selby Gardens’ 50th anniversary

It’s a yearlong, artful celebration with lots of events and exhibits at the botanical gardens.
 
"The Orchid Show 2023" at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens' downtown Sarasota campus runs through Nov. 26.
"The Orchid Show 2023" at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens' downtown Sarasota campus runs through Nov. 26. [ DYLAN JON WADE COX | Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens ]
Published Oct. 19, 2023

Sarasota’s Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is celebrating its 50th anniversary season with yearlong programming of special exhibitions. Aptly dubbed “The Living Museum,” exhibitions and events are planned for both the downtown campus (1534 Mound St.) and the Historic Spanish Point location (401 N. Tamiami Trail).

Among the highlights: a dazzling display of orchids, a performance by singer-songwriter Patti Smith, a showcase of Clyde Butcher photographs and the special exhibition “Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O’Keeffe.”

“We are excited to present a season-long celebration of our world-class botanical science, unique horticultural beauty, and visionary leaders of yesterday and today as we mark this wonderful milestone,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, president and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, in a news release.

Another exciting development: The first phase of the gardens’ plan for expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2023 and will create the world’s first net-positive energy botanical garden complex.

Here are the details.

The Orchid Show 2023

Selby Gardens has the largest scientifically documented collection of living orchids in the world. The Orchid Show highlights orchids from the collection on display in the Tropical Conservatory and features an exhibition of images and artifacts that tell the history of the gardens in the Museum of Botany & The Arts. On view now through Nov. 26 at the downtown campus.

“Orchid”

To commemorate the anniversary, Selby Gardens published “Orchid,” a coffee-table book full of 150 photographs of multiple varieties of the plant, paired with text from the botany and horticulture staff. It’s for sale in the Garden Shop at the downtown campus and online.

Clyde Butcher: Nature Through the Lens

Opening Nov. 11 at the Historic Spanish Point location, large-scale prints on aluminum of Butcher’s iconic photography of the plants, animals and habitats of Florida will be displayed among the landscape of the 30-acre waterfront property. It will include photographs of regional locales including Myakka River State Park and Casey Key. On view through Aug. 31, 2024.

The return of Patti Smith

Patti Smith, left, is pictured with Selby Gardens president and CEO Jennifer O. Rominiecki in the gardens. Smith is Selby Gardens' artist-in-residence.
Patti Smith, left, is pictured with Selby Gardens president and CEO Jennifer O. Rominiecki in the gardens. Smith is Selby Gardens' artist-in-residence. [ Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens ]

Legendary singer-songwriter and poet Patti Smith is Selby Gardens’ artist-in-residence and will return Nov. 15 at the downtown campus with the program “An Evening With Patti Smith Dedicated to Georgia O’Keeffe,” inspired by the upcoming exhibition, “Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O’Keeffe.” Tickets go on sale Oct. 19. Smith will return again in 2024 for public performances and readings, while she privately draws inspiration from the gardens.

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Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O’Keeffe

Opening Feb. 11, the exhibition at the downtown campus explores contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s connection to and relationship with the late painter Georgia O’Keeffe. As a young artist living in Japan in the 1950s, Kusama wrote a letter to O’Keeffe seeking advice. O’Keeffe responded and encouraged her to come to New York City to pursue her art. She did, and the rest is art history. The exhibition is the eighth iteration of the Jean & Alfred Goldstein series that showcases artists’ connections to nature. It runs through June 30, 2024.

For more information, visit selby.org.