Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Adds

Japanese Garden to Collection
by Amy Sawade
February 26, 2012

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the nation’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, announces plans for The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. One of the most revered and deeply appreciated international garden styles, the 8½-acre addition will further the organization’s dual mission of horticulture and sculpture.

“Fred and Lena Meijer shared their love of Japanese garden design with us many years ago,” said President and CEO David Hooker. “This artistic, centuries–old yet timeless horticultural presentation style is an important contribution to this organization.”

The garden, to be located in the northeast corner of the 132-acre property, will exude the very essence of the Japanese tradition—tranquility, simplicity and beauty. The design will re-imagine existing features of the land—water, elevation changes and quiet surroundings—with a combination of manicured and naturalistic areas.

The artful design by Hoichi Kurisu, president and founder of Kurisu International, Inc., will reflect this essence through a variety of horticultural elements such as zen, moss and bonsai gardens, scenic bridges, waterfalls and a tea house, among many other features. Plans also include works of contemporary sculpture by major international artists whose aesthetic and form will work in harmony with the space.

“Highly unique to our Japanese Garden will be the inclusion of Contemporary sculpture,” said Vice President and Chief Curator of Horticulture and Sculpture Joseph Becherer. “Several landmark works by international masters will represent the aesthetic and form of the Japanese tradition while combining our dual mission of horticulture and sculpture.”

The first confirmed sculpture is a major work by Anish Kapoor, one of the most acclaimed artists working today. It is one of the few works in granite the artist has created. Circular units on the front surface of the sculpture reflect and enhance the surrounding environment while the quiet mood of the work encourages meditation.

Meijer Gardens recently began a $22 million capital campaign to support the project. Frederik and Lena Meijer and Richard and Helen DeVos made significant gifts.

“When Fred and Lena invited us to participate in the Japanese Garden planning, Helen and I were excited to have the opportunity to join them in further enhancing the remarkable organization they have built,” said Richard DeVos. “Japanese gardens are one of the most ancient and profound horticultural traditions in the world and we’re pleased to bring it to this Midwest cultural gem.”

“We are forever grateful to the Meijer and DeVos families for their generosity,” said Hooker. “This garden is a major gift that will keep giving to our community well beyond our lifetimes.”

Groundbreaking will take place no later than the spring of 2013 and excavation work may happen this year. Progressive AE and Owen Ames Kimball will provide architectural, engineering and construction management support.

About Hoichi Kurisu

President and Founder of Kurisu International, Inc., Hoichi Kurisu has been designing and building gardens for over forty years. From 1968 to 1972, Hoichi served as Landscape Director for the Japanese Garden Society in Portland, Oregon, and supervised the construction of the Portland Japanese Gardens. He founded Kurisu International, Inc. in 1972. The landscape firm has an established reputation for gardens of the highest quality including Anderson Gardens (Rockford, IL) and Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden (Delray Beach, FL). Their unique garden designs create “inner space” for inspiration and healing.

About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park serves more than 550,000 visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently ranked in the top 100 most–visited art museums worldwide by “Art Newspaper,” the leading publication in global art news. The 132–acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900–seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Rodin, Moore, Bourgeois and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Dine.

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