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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Lynden Sculpture Garden Reveals the Art of Harry and Peg Bradley

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Harry and Peg Bradley’s private world opens to Milwaukee with great celebration on May 30. Their personal retreat and 40 acre sculpture gallery renamed the Lynden Sculpture Garden will be permanently available to the public on Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to dusk, and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

The opening includes the cape cod farmhouse designed by Wilson Uihlein that the Bradley’s originally lived in, all renovated with green sensibility and sustainability. On the house’s second floor, a huge classroom will offer year-round educational programs and summer camps currently in the planning stages. Original Bradley furniture will be restored to the dining room while the living room eventually will showcase art though rotating exhibitions. A grand, two-way fireplace from this main room warms the connecting screen porch and adjacent terrace. Already these vintage spaces may be rented for smaller special events, especially when the kitchen has been refitted with catering quality equipment.

Most spectacular are the grounds Harry designed to recall English country and botanical gardens where Peg installed the monumental sculptures she collected during the years 1962-1978. The 50 sculptures the couple purchased include works by Alexander Archipenko, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi, to name only a few of the illustrious artists. Visitors will be free to reflect on these impressive treasures, spreading blankets nearby for reading in their shadows.

Also on site above the estate’s renovated barn, a furnished apartment waits for the first artist in residence that Executive Director Polly Morris foresees establishing in time. She envisions an artist who will live and contribute to the community at large, assisting with the numerous cultural events Morris expects to unfold when Lynden grows.

Additionally, Morris eagerly anticipates the opportunity to invite temporary and traveling exhibitions to Lynden’s gardens throughout the year. Recently a call for proposals from local artists was initiated for the first exhibit, “Inside/Outside.”

For the garden’s May 30 grand opening, numerous special programs involving both visual and performance are scheduled. Wild Space Dance Company will commemorate the event with a unique presentation while chamber music entertains through out the afternoon. Near the newly constructed rain garden, a large parking lot and picnic area provides great spaces allowing visitors to appreciate the Bradley’s aesthetic foresight and philanthropy.

Finally open to public, the Bradley estate honors Harry and Peg, a legacy poignantly remembered by their initials carved into two hearts with an arrow through them on the living room’s fireplace bench. On the opposite corner of the bench, the carvings etch the namesake, Lynden, and the date, 3-21-28.

After over 80 years, this expansive tribute to art and life becomes another remarkable gem for the city to cherish. Morris ecstatically claims about the Lynden Gardens, “It’s a great opportunity to open something new that’s rooted in the oldto be a major player in Milwaukee’s art community.”

The Lynden Sculpture Gardens at 2145 W. Brown Deer Road open May 30 from noon until 5 p.m. The five-dollar entrance fee may be used toward an annual membership.

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