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In anticipation of the new permanent Butterfly House to be constructed at the Gardens on Spring Creek, a colorful kinetic sculpture animated by the wind titled, ‘Garden Visitor,’ was installed at the driveway entrance of The Gardens, 2145 Centre Avenue. This sculpture has been generously offered on loan by local Fort Collins artist, Robert M. Howard.
‘Garden Visitor’ is a nod to the artist’s passion for gardening. The sculpture is an abstraction of a butterfly. The form and color suggest it could be a butterfly, but the wings do not move like one. Under magnification the wings of butterflies reveal tiny scales that reflect light, which creates color. The artist has represented those scales with multiple hexagons that move and shimmer with a slight breeze. ‘Garden Visitor’ is constructed with stainless steel and mild steel. It weighs 45 pounds and stands over eleven feet tall.
Born in Perth, Western Australia, Robert M. Howard holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the University of California Santa Barbara and has lived in Fort Collins for the last thirty years. A designer of kinetic sculpture and an avid gardener, Howard’s interest lies in creating sculpture that engages and delights all ages. With the help of a breeze, parts of his sculptures move and reflect light while producing visual rhythms that capture attention. Many of Howard’s sculptures have been on public display in Front Range cities since 2007.
In February 2017, the City of Fort Collins, Gardens on Spring Creek, and the Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 W. 104th Avenue, Westminster, announced a newly formed partnership to build and operate a permanent native butterfly house in Fort Collins. The house will reside at the Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins, and it will be operated jointly by Butterfly Pavilion and Gardens on Spring Creek staff.
The 1,700 square foot conservatory will house up to 400 free-flying North American butterflies with thousands of blooming flowers. The butterfly house plans to open to the public in 2019.