City of Upper Arlington, Ohio

Elemental Gardens

The Elemental Gardens, located in Reed Road Park located at 3855 Reed Rd. in Upper Arlington, feature sculptural installations focusing on the four elements of Water, Fire, Earth and Wind.

An interactive sculptural fountain, Egeria, created by Upper Arlington artist Gene Friley, represents the element of water. Egeria was a Greek Goddess and gave wisdom and prophecy in return for simple libations of water. An unveiling reception was held on Monday, September 21, 2009.

Professor Gene Friley, a well-known figure on The Ohio State University's campus, taught in the Ceramic Art Program for 43 years. During this tie, the program was considered one of the two top such programs in the United States. For 13 of those years, Friley served as Chair of the program. Commenting on his art, Prof. Friley observes, "As a secular humanist, I closely identify and react emphatically with organic as well as in organic phenomena. And since I believe humor can help make our lives much richer as well as solve some of our cultural difficulties, I enjoy injecting some humors absurdity into much of my work." Prof. Friley has been commissioned to create many local public art works in Central Ohio and he and his wife have been recognized for their generosity in opening their home's unique artistic garden for arts groups and fundraisers. Prof. Friley has earned more than 17 local, state or national awards. His artwork has been selected for more than 75 juried or invitational exhibitions and in thirty solo shows including dozens of sculptural compositions for libraries, museums, colleges, municipal buildings and individuals. Slightly dizzy from eighty-five accelerating trips around the sun, he still finds working in his studio to be a vital part of his life and humor to be a marvelous means of coping with the human inanities of our day.

In partnership with the Parks and Forestry Division and Leadership UA, the Cultural Arts Division installed a bosquet-a small clump of plantings with statuary in Reed Road Park. The bosquet incorporates Rotation, an abstract sculpture by C. Jere' and plantings arranged by members of Leadership UA and Lisa Metcalf, Horticulturalist for the City of Upper Arlington. Rotation represents the element of wind. An unveiling and reception was held at the end of April, 2007.

Emerging Edafos
The City of Upper Arlington's Cultural Arts Division invites community members to experience the newest addition to Arts in Community Spaces; Emerging Edafos, a soil and plant structure installation at Reed Road Park, created in a partnership between the Cultural Arts and Parks and Forestry Divisions. Reed Road Park, is located in the area West of Reed Road and South of Lytham Road.

Parks & Forestry Horticulturist Lisa Metcalf describes the inspiration and process for Emerging Edafos, "This is of course our third of four "art" garden installations in Reed Rd park, another successful and creative partnership between the Cultural Arts and Parks and Forestry/Horticulture Divisions. The initial concept for Earth came from a desire to create soil and plant structures; in this case mounds to change the face and topography of this small space in the park. The three mounds represent a small but notable change and all three fit together cohesively with low growing ornamental grass species planted in each. Each grass species provides texture and color to further but subtly alter the space and provide year round interest. The species used in the installation include: Imperata cylindrica, Sporobolus heterolepsis, Liriope muscari 'Big Blue', Liriope muscari 'Sun Proof Silver', Carex elata 'Aurea'."

Through this subtle shaping of the earth we are practicing eco art. Our goal with any work is to create a work that is site-specific and kind to the environment respectful of its history and use. Our art footprint is slight and in keeping with the overall philosophy of living greener. Take a moment and walk through our green museum.

Check back for news on the installation project representing Fire!

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    City offices will be closed Thursday, November 23 in observance of Thanksgiving Day. Thursday trash collection will be delayed by one day. Click here for more information.
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