Thursday, March 19, 2009

Breakfast with the Butterflies at Krohn Conservatory

Cincinnati Parks' Krohn Conservatory is donning the exotic sights, sounds, fragrances and flavors of India this spring as it invites visitors to sample the vast nation's culture, horticulture and, of course, butterflies. And, inspired by visitors' suggestions following previous Butterfly Shows, Krohn's General Manager Andrea Schepmann created a new weekly program called Happy Hour with the Butterflies and a one-time event called Breakfast with the Butterflies.

Highlights of Krohn's 2009 Butterfly Show, Flowers with Wings, will include:
A wondrous array of thousands of butterflies let loose in the Conservatory's seasonal exhibit room, transformed into an Indian garden; Weekend performances of Indian music and dance; Exhibits of Indian art, including one of rangoli, a sand-painting technique that will be applied to Krohn's concrete front walkway; A weekend tent market with vendors that will emulate an Indian marketplace; Interactive programs, such as sari and turban-wrapping lessons, and sculpting from clay small replicas of Ganesha, the elephant-like deity who is omni-present throughout India.

Krohn Conservatory's 2008 Butterfly Show, The Silk Road, featured butterflies, plants, artwork and other cultural treats from South China. It set a new attendance record for the popular annual Butterfly Show with nearly 80,000 visitors. This year, says Krohn's General Manager Andrea Schepmann, Butterfly Show organizers are shooting for 90,000 visitors (with much help from corporate sponsors Macy's Foundation and PNC Bank). With all that this year's Butterfly Show has to offer, the record should be easily broken.

Open for nine full weeks this year, Flowers with Wings is Krohn's most ambitious Butterfly Show yet. New features this year will include:
"Happy Hour With the Butterflies" for adults each Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Alcoholic drinks will be available, and visitors can watch films from India's famed Bollywood movie industry;
"Breakfast With the Butterflies" a reservations-only treat for butterfly devotees on June 6;
A collaboration with our Eden Park neighbor, the Cincinnati Art Museum: on May 24, a procession featuring a topiary elephant in homage to Ganesha will make its way from Krohn Conservatory to the Cincinnati Art Museum, where a multi-media music theater production will take place featuring an original work by noted Indian composer and world visionary Kanniks Kannikeswaran;
Two reservations-only programs - a May 15 wine tasting and a June 12 "Girls Night Out"- with popular local chef Amy Tobin.
As in past years, amateur photographers will be welcome on Monday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30, and Mother's Day and Father's Day will have no admission costs for those days' honorees. And, as always, volunteers for a wide variety of jobs will be needed by the score!

Krohn Conservatory is excited to have members of the area's Indian community working with Krohn's staff for this year's Butterfly Show. Local collectors of Indian art are loaning a variety of items for display in the Bonsai Room, which will be decked out against a Taj Mahal photographic mural. Artist Radha Chandrashekaran and dancer Sanjita Kothari are lending their crafts to the show while others, working more behind the scenes, are lending expertise and guidance to ensure respectful authenticity for this year's Butterfly Show.

After all, India is home to many rich religious traditions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam - and Krohn strives to honor that diversity with this exhibit. Guest artistic designer Jan Brown Checco calls Flowers with Wings "a great opportunity not just to sooth and entertain people via the gardens and the butterflies, but also to expose Krohn visitors to a culture that is as different from ours as India's."

Visitors to this year's Butterfly Show may be surprised to learn that marigolds and ficus trees, staples in our own gardens and homes, are native to India, says Heather Wiggins, who teaches horticulture at Cincinnati State and serves as guest horticulturalist for the 2009 Butterfly Show. Deep oranges, golds and crimsons will be well represented in the Butterfly garden. Heather also plans to incorporate water pools for India's exquisite lotus flower into the show's gardens, as well as Indian foods and herbs, such as cucumbers, eggplants, ornamental peppers, cumin, dill and anise, many of which will also be made available for sale as plants for home gardeners.

Having spent several months in India during her horticultural studies, Heather is thrilled to share the beauty of an Indian garden with visitors to Krohn. She hopes that when they enter the India-inspired butterfly-filled garden in Krohn's main exhibit room, "they'll feel the same way I felt when I first got to India."

For more information on Flowers with Wings contact Andrea Schepmann at (513) 421-5707; anyone interested in volunteering for the 2009 Butterfly Show can contact Christyl Johnson at (513) 421-5707.

Show: The International Butterfly Show - Flowers with Wings
Sponsored by: Macy's Foundation and PNC Bank
Show Dates: April 18-June 21, 2009 / Open daily 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Admission: Adults $6, seniors $5, Children 5-17 $4, ages 4-under no cost; $10 Butterfly Show Pin allows unlimited repeat visits. Available for purchase online.
Contact: Andrea Schepmann at 513-421-5707 or 513-352-3380 (TTY)

1 comment:

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