Jul 22nd, 2015

Can You Find the Art Door?

Garden volunteer Karen Beasley with her Art Door.

Garden volunteer Karen Beasley who designed and painted Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Find Art Door. Can you find the door at our Garden?

Walk through a doorway and something magical happens. You’re in a different place! Perhaps you return to a familiar world filled with memories and people you love. Or maybe you enter a new space, leaving an old life behind and taking your first steps into a bright new future. A doorway is about transition, no matter where it takes you.

Maybe you have noticed some beautifully painted new doors popping up in some unexpected places around town, including one at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. They are all part of a campaign called Find Art Doors sponsored by Virginia Supportive Housing (VSH) and Art on Wheels. The campaign is both a public art installation symbolizing the transition out of homelessness in Richmond and an interactive quest where you can explore the city, discover art and win great prizes. Proceeds from the auction of the doors at the end of the display in October will help pay for the renovation of a local property where Richmonders formerly living on the street can find a place to call home.

In collaboration with Art on Wheels, VSH salvaged 40 doors during renovation of one of their local properties and asked artists in our community to use the doors as a canvas. This is where you come in. The doors are installed in museums and other public places around town.  Find all 40 of them (including ours here in the Garden), post your photos to Instagram using #FindArtDoors, and you might win a prize, coordinated by VSH. Be sure to follow and tag @lewisginter on Instagram so we will be sure to see your great photos, too.

There will also be a chance to vote for your favorite doors soon. See a door you want to own? Mobile bidding starts in September. Our door is on display until October 12, and the campaign ends with a special celebration on October 16 when the doors will be auctioned off to help support VSH. The quest is free, but your donation supports the two non-profit organizations that created Find Art Doors.

We won’t spoil your Garden search by telling where the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden door is located, but here is a glimpse to help get you started. It was painted by Garden volunteer Karen Beasley, a gardener at heart who is clever and creative by nature. Karen has spent much of her time here at Lewis Ginter with paintbrush in hand. Since 2006, she has been decorating Santa’s throne for Dominion GardenFest of Lights, hand-lettering signs, and she even used to repair the original monkey print wallpaper in the Robins Visitor’s Center restrooms. She was the perfect choice when the Garden wanted a volunteer artist to paint our door. And because Karen feels so at home here, she chose the garden entrance way  for the image on our door.  Karen painted the heavy metal door using sample size jars of house paint in eight different colors. It took almost nine days, as the shifting sunlight in her outdoor studio added to the challenge.

When you do find the door in the Garden, be sure to look for Karen’s signature bumblebee and admire her artistry. We’re proud to be part of Virginia Supportive Housing’s effort to help the homeless in Richmond open the door to a new life.

Volunteer Susan Higgins writes about what she learns and loves in the Garden.

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