Giant Origami Sculptures at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Heather Raulerson

A unique art exhibit is coming to the Missouri Botanical Garden starting this weekend, OrigamiintheGarden. This exhibit will have you seeing paper origami birds taking flight, horses, butterflies, paper airplanes, and boats throughout the gardens. However, these aren’t the traditional Japanese paper origami masterpieces; they are large sculptures in metal. You can imagine them moving gently in the breeze like this horse flapping its wings getting ready to take off in flight!

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Photo Credit to Kevin Box, Robert J. Lang

This gigantic outdoor art sculpture exhibition runs from April 17 through October 10. These creative figures were created by Santa Fe artists Jennifer and Kevin Box and tell origami’s story, the Japanese art of paper folding. The large-scale sculptures were created in collaboration with world-renowned origami artists Robert J. Lang, Te Jui Fu, Michael G. La Fosse, and Beth Johnson.

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Photo by Heather Raulerson

What is the OrigamiintheGarden?

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Photo by Heather Raulerson

OrigamiintheGarden is an exhibition of 18 spectacular large-scale metal sculptures that feature flying birds, painted ponies, emerging butterflies, floating boats, and so much more. The centerpiece, “Master Peace,” of the exhibit is a 25-foot tower that creates the illusion of 1,000 stainless steel origami peace cranes fluttering above the water. You can find “Master Peace” in the western central axis pool, closest to the Climatron. These giant metal sculptures are made with a lost wax casting and fabrication process that involves more than 35 steps. Pretty impressive!

The daytime origami exhibit is included in admission and free for Members. General admission is $14/ages 13 and up. The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard.

What is Origami?

If you haven’t seen origami before, talented people make the most ornate little creatures out of paper. And sometimes, they can be very tiny and in this exhibit very large! Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. However, you can’t cut the piece, use glue, or add markings on the paper.

Why should you visit the Missouri Botanical Garden?

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Photo by Heather Raulerson

Besides this creative and unique exhibit, visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places to explore in Saint Louis. The Garden has 79-acres of great flower displays, a beautiful and peaceful 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home that you can go through, and one of the world's largest collections of rare and endangered orchids. Make sure to bring your camera, especially if you love flowers! There are plenty of selfies areas, but bring a macro lens to get up close with the colorful flowers throughout the garden.

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Photo by Heather Raulerson

If you haven’t visited the Missouri Botanical Garden in a while, you should definitely come out to explore and make a day of it. You'll have to walk through the Climatron to experience a rain forest, feed the Koi Fish by the Feeding Bridge, and smell the roses in the Gladney Rose Garden. There is so much to see all year long, with the flower displays changing as the seasons change. And exploring the gardens, you'll see that one of the prettiest areas in St. Louis is the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Enjoy your visit and don't forget to smell the flowers!

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Photo by Heather Raulerson

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Freelance travel writer and photographer who loves sharing her adventures from around the world. It is never too late to pursue your dream!

Rochester Hills, MI
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