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Strand Notebook | Lego sculptures help Brookgreen celebrate 85 years

Full-time Lego artist Sean Kenney.
Full-time Lego artist Sean Kenney. Photo submitted.

For 85 years, Brookgreen Gardens has been offering beauty, art, education, fun and much more to locals, tourists and travelers who come just to experience what Brookgreen has to offer. And that is a great deal, with more being added constantly.

An exhibit that children and adults have been excited about seeing will be hosted in celebration of Brookgreen’s 85th anniversary, according to a press release. The exhibit features 12 larger-than-life Lego brick sculpture installations that will be in the Native Wildlife Zoo from March 5 to Sept. 5. Created by Sean Kenney, renowned artist and children’s author, “Nature Connects” is an award winning exhibit currently touring thecountry. Made from almost 400,000 Lego bricks, the sculptures bring nature to life with a 6-foot tall hummingbird hovering over a trumpet flower, a deer family made from 48,000 bricks, a giant tortoise, a 7-foot-long giant dragonfly, and more. The exhibit will be open daily and is included in garden admission.

“Nature Connects is a perfect fit for us,” said Bob Jewell, president and CEO. “It combines nature with art in a playful and creative way and its placement in the Native Wildlife Zoo will bring more awareness of that aspect of our mission.”

The exhibit will feature interpretive panels with an educational message for each sculpture to help connect children with the natural world and promote sustainability and conservations. In addition, there will be educational activities such as a Lego sculpture building contest, scavenger hunts, and 30,000 Lego bricks available for guests to play, build, and use their imagination during their visit.

According to information from Brookgreen, Legos currently is recognized as the number one brand in the world and is guided by the company spirit: "Only the best is good enough.” The company is committed to the development of children and aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through creative play and learning.

For nearly a decade, Kenney has been using Lego toys as a medium for contemporary sculpture. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC news, ELLE, Good Morning America, and he has created pieces for television shows, celebrities, tourist attractions, and fortune 500 companies around the world. Kenney was the first of now only 13 “Lego Certified Professionals” worldwide, who are not employees of Lego, but who are officially recognized by the Lego Group as trusted business partners because of their building proficiency, their enthusiasm for the Lego brick and building system, and a professional approach towards other Lego fans and the broader public. Each sculpture touches people as both a reflection from their childhood and as a sculptural piece of art. Kenney aims to spark creativity in the viewer, especially in the case of a child, who can not only visualize creating something great themselves, but who can actually go home and do so.

Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark and nonprofit organization located on U.S. 17 between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. It is open to the public daily. For more information, visit the website at www.brookgreen.org or call 843-235-6000.

Peggy Mishoe, pegmish@sccoast.net, 365-3885.

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