Major Japanese Garden to Open at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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One of the most revered international garden styles, this traditional yet innovative Japanese garden will further the organization's mission of horticulture and sculpture.

The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden opens to the public on June 13, 2015.

Chief Curator, Joseph Antenucci Becherer said, "Reflecting the very mission of Meijer Gardens at large, and the commitment to horticulture and sculpture, the careful selection of these seven works make a significant contribution to the collection."

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the nation’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, announces the public opening of The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden on June 13, 2015. The eight-acre project features traditional components such as waterfalls, elevation changes, extensive boulder placement, authentic Japanese structures and a functioning teahouse. The garden is also innovative in that Contemporary sculptures will be integrated among the unique collection of plants.

“This project really took its first major steps when Fred Meijer proposed the idea to me—it was one of his last requests for Meijer Gardens,” said President and CEO David Hooker. “Thanks to Fred and Lena’s generosity, along with Richard and Helen DeVos’, and over 200 community members, our $22 million goal was met to build and sustain this Japanese Garden for years to come.”

The Japanese Garden, located in the middle of the 158-acre main campus, embraces the essence of traditional Japanese gardens—tranquility, contemplation and beauty. The design effectively uses space to highlight contrasts between still and rushing water, between quietly intimate spaces and expansive open spaces, and between manicured and natural areas.

Although based on the centuries-old Japanese presentation style emphasizing a reverence for nature and a contemplative lifestyle, this innovative garden also integrates contemporary sculpture by international artists. The guest experience engages all the senses, appreciated from every part of the garden including areas such as: the viewing hill, faith reflection areas and near the many water features.

“We’ve worked with designer Hoichi Kurisu to create a familiar and calming space, but one that will change with the seasons and as it matures,” said Director of Horticulture, Steve LaWarre. “While our Japanese Garden will be ready to open in June, gardens are never really finished—it’s a living thing that will continue to take shape and grow for generations to come.”

Hoichi Kurisu is renowned for his use of space. During the past five years at Meijer Gardens, he has transformed an expansive marsh and wooded valley into an international design that uses the garden space to its best potential as a sensory experience. This garden is meant to be enjoyed throughout all seasons and invites guests to engage with sights and sounds such as the rushing waterfalls, textured boulders and cloud-form trees.

“It has been a great honor for me to work on this very special project for Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park,” said Hoichi Kurisu, the garden’s master designer and president of Kurisu International, Inc. “Fred Meijer’s dream for such a garden for his wife Lena, and of Richard and Helen DeVos has become my dream, too. My wish is that the beauty and tranquility of this space will touch the visitors very deeply for many generations to come.”

Kurisu carries the Japanese garden tradition into the 21st century by marrying Japanese customs with Contemporary sculpture, as well as incorporating a variety of sculpture and horticultural elements such as a Zen-style garden, bonsai garden, scenic bridges and an authentic teahouse.

The Japanese Garden will feature seven works of Contemporary sculpture by major international artists: Anish Kapoor, Zhang Huan, David Nash, Masayuki Koorida, George Rickey, Jenny Holtzer and Giuseppe Penone, whose aesthetic forms will work in harmony with the space. Part of the permanent sculpture collection, the placement of these pieces reflects the greater Meijer Gardens mission as evidenced throughout the property and Sculpture Park.

“Although in many ways this is a very traditional Japanese Garden and reflects centuries of tradition, it also is uniquely forward thinking through the inclusion of Contemporary sculpture,” said Chief Curator and Vice President, Joseph Antenucci Becherer. “Reflecting the very mission of Meijer Gardens at large, and the commitment to horticulture and sculpture, the careful selection of these seven works make a significant contribution to the collection and to the larger notion of collecting within the history of art.”

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Japanese Garden assets can be found here:

About Hoichi Kurisu

President and Founder of Kurisu International, Inc., Hoichi Kurisu has been designing and building gardens for over 40 years. From 1968 to 1972, Hoichi served as Landscape Director for the Japanese Garden Society in Portland, Oregon, and supervised the construction of the Portland Japanese Gardens. He founded Kurisu International, Inc. in 1972. The landscape firm has an established reputation for gardens of the highest quality including Anderson Gardens (Rockford, IL) and Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden (Delray Beach, FL). His unique garden designs create “inner space” for inspiration and healing.

About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park serves over 600,000 visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 158-acre main campus features Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Oldenburg, Moore, Serra, Bourgeois and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Dine. In June 2015, the eight–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will open. Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden will also feature sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Zhang Huan and Guiseppe Penone, among others.

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