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American Society of Landscape Architects

 

July 2006 Issue

Where Art Meets Agriculture
Outside Cincinnati, a low-key sculpture garden shares space with a farm.

By Jane Durrell

Where Art Meets Agriculture Sculpture, Carol Boram-Hays; Photo, Tony Walsh

When is weather a compelling factor in viewing art? In an outdoor sculpture park, of course, like Mac’s Farm and Sculpture Center, an incongruous interruption in the suburban sprawl of Blue Ash, Ohio, at the edge of Cincinnati. A sizable slice of the area’s sculpture community gathers in the summer each year for the opening of the center’s annual exhibition. When I visited in 2005, the day, heavy with humidity, was spottily overcast, but as I walked past a table of ripe tomatoes toward a gathering of people, a flood of afternoon light suddenly set everything in focus for the great pleasure of seeing sculpture out of doors.

“This is a gallery, not a museum,” Robert McConaughy (also known as “Mac”) had told me when I visited again in the winter and we made our way across snow-covered ground. Although a few pieces are permanently installed, most of the art seen here appears in the temporary exhibition series, Without Walls, mounted once or twice each year. Thirteen artists are included in the 2006 show. The 2006 installation is in place May 20 through August, and there are plans for a drive-through, light–sculpture show December 21 through New Year’s Day. Mac himself has had a busy year, showing on the East Coast as well as in Texas.

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