Gigantic insect sculptures to bring illusion of movement and life to Houston Botanic Garden with arrival of “Glass in Flight” this October
Visitors to Houston Botanic Garden this fall will encounter gigantic sculptures of butterflies, beetles, dragonflies, and bees – some as tall as 12 feet high – as “Glass in Flight” lands in Houston for a six-month stay, beginning the weekend of Oct. 20-22. Created by Tucson-based artist Alex Heveri, this traveling art and science exhibit showcases 21 pieces made of steel and colorful hand-cut Dalle de Verre glass that capture the essence of flight and mimic the transparency and iridescence of insect wings in the sunlight.
“My sculptures are intended to have a big impact,” said Heveri. “There’s nothing like coming eye-to-eye with huge, happy bees and zooming dragonflies and massive, colorful butterflies to bring those creatures into focus for people in a wonderful way.”
Heveri – who credits “biophilia” (love of life) and “entomophilia” (love of insects) as her muses – conceived, designed, cut, assembled, and welded the sparkling, realistic sculptures that premiered at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in 2022 and have now embarked on a journey to prestigious gardens, zoos, and museums across the United States.
“Much as we did with LEGO bricks last fall, this year the Garden is featuring an artist who uses a building material not necessarily associated with living things – in this case, stained glass – to help visitors see and experience nature in a beautiful new way,” said Justin Lacey, director of communications and community engagement for the Houston Botanic Garden. “’Glass in Flight’ will bring a sense of movement and whimsy to our Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden as shifting natural light streams through and spotlights different aspects of the intricate detailing crafted into Heveri’s creations.”
“When I design a sculpture, I expect the light component to generate a sculptural performance all its own,” said Heveri. “The experience of viewing light through colored and faceted glass is like watching fire. Light captivates the viewer like nothing else.”
The Garden sees “Glass in Flight” as more than just an opportunity to enchant visitors, though. The exhibit is also a reminder that conserving plants and natural habitats for some of the smallest, and hardest-working, animals is more important than ever, with so many wildlife species facing increasing environmental challenges that threaten their existence.
“Glass in Flight highlights insects that play a variety of crucial ecological roles,” said Erin Mills, education manager for the Garden. “For instance, dragonflies, which are some of the most ancient insects alive today, are under-appreciated, in my opinion. For one thing, they eat lots and lots of mosquitoes! They are also indicators of the health of an aquatic ecosystem, as they are sensitive to pollution.”
Tickets to “Glass in Flight” are included in general admission to the Garden, which is $15 for adults and $10 for children Friday through Sunday; or $12.50 for adults and $8 for children and students on discount days, Monday through Thursday. The exhibit will be on display at the Garden through Apr. 19, 2024.
For more information about “Glass and Flight” and Houston Botanic Garden, visit www.hbg.org.
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Houston Botanic Garden inspires and connects visitors with a curated collection of tropical, sub-tropical, and arid plants from around the world that reflect the city’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity. As a 132-acre urban oasis and living museum with 1,000 taxa, the Garden enriches life through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.