LOLA Sound Garden builds community through art
Along a gravel walking path next to a tall tree and nestled on the ground among the ferns, Kate Royce points to a photo, a close-up detail of the tree.
“We’re standing in front of one of my photographs,” said Royce.
Royce participated in the Land O’Lakes Arts [LOLA] workshops leading up to the sound garden exhibit in Land O’Lakes.
The artwork she created in those workshops is among the dozens of paintings, photographs, and poems created by community members specifically for the sound garden.
It was all inspired by and created in the patch of woods where the sound garden exhibit resides.
“This has been a really neat week preparing for this,” said Royce. “Learning from the different people involved has been really neat. There was a naturalist. He took us around and pointed out most things eyes would miss.”
People can walk through the sound garden admiring the artwork, reading poems, and listening to the sounds of nature and the music composed by JG Everest.
Music that was also inspired by the very woods you walk through.
“I only get to hear the LOLA sound garden when I’m here in Land O’Lakes and set it all up. It was music that was made for this place. It’s site-specific art. Three years ago I spent a couple weeks here, set up a little studio above the LOLA art space, and just spent every day here sketching and composing and writing and recording to just try and find the right soundtrack for this place, for being in this place,” said Everest.
Everest has created sound gardens all across the U.S. Each piece of music heard is unique to that place.
He has returned to Land O’Lakes in conjunction with Land O’Lakes Arts for three years to create the installation.
“I just love to come back to this site and just walk through. I started realizing that we talk about history here. We look at the nature. But I’m really developing a real relationship with this place where I’m walking these trails and I remember, ‘Oh yeah that’s where Zoey took the photo of the spider.’ Or ‘That’s where he found the orchid’ or ‘That’s where somebody was playing the cello or something.’ There are so many things and now they’re accumulating. Now when I walk through, we’ve been making history now that’s local. It’s the people here. I so look forward to meeting the folks every year I come here,” said Everest.
It’s the cumulation of that connection between the people creating the art, the art itself, and the nature that inspire it that makes the sound garden a unique experience.
It’s an experience like this that Lynn Richie says is what LOLA is all about. She’s a current board member for the arts organizations and the past board president.
“I could go on and on about how arts feeds into almost everything. Everybody listens to the radio. Everybody likes music. Everybody has some kind of art hanging in their house. Art is everywhere. It’s all around us. Sometimes we don’t even realize how much art is affecting our lives in a good way,” said Richie. “That speaks to something. It’s a building block. Arts is one of the building blocks of communities.”
Getting the community involved through the workshops is one of Everest’s favorite aspects of the sound garden.
“The whole local community can get involved with the project and we all then share in the creation and share in the magic,” he said. “Also, so many people have sort of given up on themselves as being creative, being artists, and what that means. I’m not saying that being an artist doesn’t take work or take a lot of dedication and practice, but so many people say, ‘Oh well I can’t do that. I can’t write poems, or I can’t sing, or I can’t play music.’ There’s a way to simplify things down and have it be very pure and people can.”
That sentiment was echoed by Royce who moved to Land O’Lakes six months ago and wants to dive back into the arts as much as possible.
“It awakens you. It brings you back to maybe a child-like artist because when you’re young you wouldn’t say, ‘I don’t dance. I don’t sing. I don’t draw.’ You’d say yes to all of those,” said Royce. “As we get older, we get pulled away from it. I’m excited to try things, learn things, be a part of the community. You meet people. It’s wonderful.”
Whether you take a stroll through it or the sound garden inspires you to create your own art, Royce encourages everyone to come and visit.
“I think this is so beautiful and so inviting,” said Royce. “Now as I look out, I see the ferns dancing. It’s almost like they’re dancing to the music. The leaves and the trees are moving about. It’s an interactive experience because you are part of the sound garden. You’re not visiting it, you are part of it. Your ears and your eyes and your senses are all awakened.”
TheLOLA Sound Garden is open Friday, June 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
It’s located by the NorthernWaters Museum and Storybook Gardens off Highway B in Land O’Lakes.
It’s recommended to bring bug spray.