This summer, visitors to The Morton Arboretum in Chicago’s western suburbs will encounter a series of ingenious nature-themed sculptures crafted from more than a half-million LEGO bricks when the award-winning exhibition Nature Connects: Art with LEGO bricks by Sean Kenney returns.
From May 24 through Sept. 15, visitors of all ages will enjoy the craftsmanship of 15 displays created entirely from LEGO bricks, found along pathways through the Arboretum’s east side. New highlights of the 2019 exhibition include a bee midflight, an oak tree sprouting from an acorn, and a pileated woodpecker with a bright crimson crest. The imaginative displays are the work of Kenney, a New York–based artist and “professional kid.”
Visitors will also see:
- An eight-foot-long dragonfly with a bright pink body and wingspan to match
- A peacock showing off its magnificent blue and green plumage
- A hummingbird drinking nectar from an orange trumpet flower
- A giant red wheelbarrow that doubles as a planter
- A bonsai tree, its leafy canopy topping a small green hillside
- A grandfather gardening with his grandchild, watering can in hand
- A monarch butterfly sitting on top of a pink milkweed plant
- A giant, dangling corn spider with outstretched black and orange legs
- An almost life-size family of brown deer, including a buck, doe and their fawn
- An enormous purple and white pansy that has caught the attention of a pollinator
- A serene-looking sea turtle carrying a finch on its shell
- Cardinals enjoying a birdbath while an uninvited squirrel tries to join the pair
- An ant hill that offers a look at underground tunnels, with face cutouts that allow visitors to play the part of the industrious insects
“Like the LEGO bricks used to create these intricate displays, everything in nature is connected,” said Sue Wagner, vice president of education and information. “Through Sean Kenney's colorful interpretations of nature's creations, this exhibition will inspire and encourage visitors to more deeply appreciate the relationships found in the natural world.”
Visitors can also take part in Nature Connects–themed programming at the Arboretum. Kids and families can create their own LEGO brick masterpieces in the Arboretum’s Children’s Garden from May through September, while adults can learn more about the animals, insects and plants featured in the exhibition with the June 11 program, The Nature Behind Nature Connects. An updated schedule of events will be available closer to the exhibition's opening, at mortonarb.org.
Nature Connects first appeared at The Morton Arboretum in 2015, returning this year with three new displays. In addition to Nature Connects, visitors can enjoy the popular Troll Hunt exhibition, on display through the end of summer 2019. Both are free with Arboretum admission.
About Nature Connects creator, Sean Kenney
Sean Kenney is the creator of Nature Connects, an award-winning sculpture exhibition that has toured North America, Asia and Europe since 2012. For more than 10 years, Kenney has used LEGO pieces to design and create contemporary sculpture for high-profile clients, major corporations and venues around the globe. The New York Times has highlighted Kenney’s work as the "artistic elite" of LEGO building, and he’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BBC News, PBS Arts, ABC World News, HGTV and more. He has four internationally touring exhibits and is the author of nine acclaimed children’s books. For more, visit seankenney.com.