OWENSBORO, Ky. (9/13/13) – For the next month and a half, visitors to the Western Kentucky Botanical Gardens will have the opportunity to see bugs in a whole new way – as life-size statues placed strategically around the grounds.
David Rogers, who’s been designing sculpts to display at sites across the country for the last 20 years, said he was excited about the opportunity to return to Owensboro after his last set-up in 2008.
“When he called me, I really wanted to bring it back,” Rogers said of Bill Tyler, who along with his wife, Susie, donated the land for the establishment of the Western Kentucky Botanical Gardens. The Tylers help manage the facility along with other volunteers.
Rogers said coming back with a new display is something he always knew he would eventually do.
“We talked as soon as the show ended about it. This is one of the smaller gardens (where displays are set up) but I hold it in the highest regard because of the people,” Rogers said. “This is the coolest botanical garden story I know of.”
In all, 10 sculpts are on display at the garden, including three ants, a daddy longlegs, lady bugs, and a sculpt Rogers called “Spider in the Web.” The daddy longlegs is a new piece. Rogers said after “eyeballing” one of the sidewalks, he “knew it would fit” there as the central piece of the exhibit.
The various sculptures on display here are made from different types of wood, such as locust, walnut, and cedar.
“I think the challenge is to make it look new again. How do we really make it look new?” Rogers said. “This is the winner for the event, I think.”
In all, Rogers currently has 32 different sculptures on display in various regions of the country. Over the last two decades, he has worked with almost 50 gardens to produce about 70 shows in 37 different states. He got his start after designing a sculpture of a dinosaur out of Willow Sapling sticks. Some of his earliest calls from botanical gardens came from places like Kennett Square near Philadelphia, Penn., and a garden in Dallas, Tx.
“The Return of the Big Bugs” exhibit will be on display through Oct. 30. A number of special events are planned at WKBG in conjunction with the display, such as a Kids Kamp Oct. 7 through Oct. 11 from 8 a.m. until noon each day, and “The WannaBeatles Meet the Big Beetles,” a musical performance by a Nashville-based band from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 29.
Photos provided by Dennis Beard
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