Quilt Gardens, Seward Johnson sculpture exhibition both launching in May

Quilt Gardens will be planted at 19 locations in late May, including this one at the Elkhart County Historical Museum.
Quilt Gardens will be planted at 19 locations in late May, including this one at the Elkhart County Historical Museum in Bristol.


By Terry T. Mark

See all the pretty flowers … and sculptures?

The flowers have been ordered, and the sculpture sites have been selected. Now it’s time to sit back and watch an amazing public art exhibition take shape everywhere from Nappanee to Middlebury, from Goshen to Elkhart and Bristol and Wakarusa.

The annual Quilt Gardens will be planted at 19 sites featuring all-new patterns. The official opening date is May 30, though peak times to view gardens are generally considered to be late June and July.

Joining the Quilt Gardens for 2017 only are 57 bronze sculptures by American artist Seward Johnson. The sculptures, which depict everyday scenes, Johnson’s interpretations of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, and American cultural icons, will be on display from mid-May until Oct. 20, 2017. Locations for the sculptures include Quilt Gardens and various locations in the downtowns of Elkhart, Goshen, Nappanee, Wakarusa, Middlebury and Bristol.

May will be a busy month, as the gardens are planted in late May, just after the sculptures are installed.

Fifty-six of the sculptures will be installed the week of May 15, while a 25-foot-tall, monumental-scale sculpture that is Johnson’s interpretation of Grant Wood’s famous painting American Gothic will be installed in downtown Elkhart at around 10 a.m. May 16. The public is invited to view this incredible piece being erected at Central Park, just off Waterfall Drive and the RiverWalk.

Bring us all the ideas!

Is it music video that shows off the best of downtown Elkhart? Or an art project that brings neighbors together? Whatever your idea, no matter how young you are, Vibrant Communities is challenging us to show why we love where we live.

The Vibrant Communities micro-grant program has been named the Little Big Idea grant.

It’s expected that the application process will open in June, and individuals and groups will be invited to propose ideas that demonstrate love of community. The ideas should be fun, creative and engaging and must take place in Elkhart County.

Funded by the ECCVB and Community Foundation of Elkhart County, grants will be awarded in increments of up to $1,000.

By the Numbers


Number of years for the Elkhart Jazz Festival, which will be June 23-25 featuring headliners Ramsey Lewis Quintet, Ben Folds and the Elkhart County Symphony, and Terrence Blanchard & The E-Collective.

Hot Takes: The Latest and the Greatest

• Exit 92 (Cassopolis Street) on the Indiana Toll Road was closed for several weeks in April as part of an overall project to re-pave and improve ramps along the toll road. All but one of the ramps re-opened April 25, though expect closures elsewhere on the toll road this summer.

• The ECCVB’s co-op campaign with the Indiana Office of Tourism Development has launched. We’ve pooled resources with the state to target potential visitors in the Chicago and Indianapolis markets. The co-op includes a webpage, print advertising, TV commercials and billboards.

• Several great bike rides are in the works, with ADEC Ride a Bike in May, the Pumpkinvine Bike Ride in June and the Bike Elkhart Quilt Gardens Ride in August.

Terry T. Mark is the director of communications and public relations for the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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