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Sculptures move among the trees
Exhibit lets nature take part in the art
“Yellow Zingers,” a kinetic sculpture by Tim Prentice, moves in response to the wind. It is part of the “Sculpture in Motion: Art Choreographed by Nature” collection on display at Atlanta Botanical Garden through Oct. 31. - photo by For The Times

Sculpture in Motion: Art Choreographed by Nature

When: Through Oct. 31: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday-Sunday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday

Where: Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta

Cost: $12 adults, $9 seniors and ages 3-17, free for children age 2 and younger.

Contact: 404-876-5859 or

Concerts in the Garden: 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Shawn Colvin with Paul Thorn. Tickets, $35. Upcoming concerts on July 11, 18 and 25 and Aug. 1.

Each summer, a new set of sculptures sit among the flora at Atlanta Botanical Garden. Works from great artists like glass master Dale Chihuly have graced the garden in the past, and this year, you can be a part of the exhibit.

In “Sculpture in Motion: Art Choreographed by Nature,” the pieces move with stimulation from natural elements — and you’re one of them.

Even the tiniest toddler can shift “Rockspinner 6,” a granite boulder created by Atlanta-based artist Zachary Coffin that stands 10 feet tall and weighs 5 tons.

With other pieces, it’s all about nature — wind, water and the sun set the pieces into motion.

“It’s an exhibition of kinetic art, which is sculptures that move in response to forces in nature, such as wind or heat, sound, water, even human touch,” said Danny Flanders, marketing and public relations manager for the garden.

Thirty widely varied sculptures from artists around the world are featured in Sculpture in the Garden.

Flanders said his favorite piece is “Yellow Zingers,” a bright snake-like mobile by Tim Prentice that glistens among the elm trees in one of the garden’s paths.

“(I like) Yellow Zingers, which is suspended cables up in the tree tops with dozens and dozens of small yellow plates hanging off the bottom, and it just sort of twinkles in the wind. It’s real delicate, and it’s just real fascinating to watch,” Flanders said.

“There’s one sort of signature piece at the entrance to the garden that’s on loan from The High Museum, and it’s by George Rickey, who is sort of like the father of the whole kinetic sculpture movement,” he said.
Rickey’s piece, “Two Lines Oblique,” dated 1969, is a stainless steel work that evokes pendulums or the off-kilter hands of a clock. At 35 feet tall, the piece looms large over garden visitors.

Flanders said it’s only natural for the garden to feature kinetic sculpture.

“Plants move in response to forces in nature,” he said.

“Sunflowers start out facing east in the morning with the sun, then they’ll raise their heads up as the sun gets high in the sky and they’ll turn westward toward the end of the evening.”

The surroundings also add to the overall effect, he said.

“Sculpture really has a nice stage in a garden, because a garden is like a museum without walls. You can  spread it out and give it good display, and surrounded by plants it forms a really nice complement, especially if the materials are metal or steel,” Flanders said. “Those hard surfaces against the delicate blooms and leaves of plants form a nice contrast that people find really appealing.”