The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
Arb Parking Tip
Free street parking spaces are sometimes available on Oswego St. near the Arb's Geddes Street entrance.
Click here for a map.
Few places on Earth are as beautiful as Michigan on a fine fall day. Stroll through the trails & gardens during the early morning or later afternoon at this special time of year.
Check out the bloom calendar.
study spots
Looking for a location to hold a group meeting? We have some of the University's best study spots.

Art, Sculpture & Installations

Entry gate to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens Display Garden. Designed by David Torgoff

Visual and performing arts are important creative activities that help visitors perceive, question, and understand an artist's message. As a unit of a major university, the Gardens is a place where student and faculty artists may present their voice and work for public comment - some of the works are specially commissioned for precise locations. The Gardens profoundly supports this artistic creativity. All works on display have been vetted through faculty review, a select few are on permanent display.

U-M Student & Faculty Work

  • Ann Arbor Dance Works (completed project)

Jessica Fogel is an instructor in dance at U-M. She is a founding member and co-director of Ann Arbor Dance Works, the university's resident professional dance company. They have presented many works specially choreographed for both the Arb and Gardens. On February 8, 2007 they debuted a new performance, "In the Garden," in honor of our centennial.

  • River Bank Rescue (completed project)

U-M students Jake Serwer, Ben Friedman and Sam Roston took some of the top honors in the Miller's Creek Film Festival with their feature River Bank Rescue. The film details work to repair the Huron River shoreline at the Arboretum's River Landings.

  • Shadow Pavilion (completed project)

Shadow Pavilion was a temporary experimental installation by U-M Taubman College professor Karl Daubmann in collaboration with John Marshall that utilized computer-generated architectural forms inspired by organic models to design site-specific structures that maximize utility while minimizing material and waste.

Art & Sculpture

  • Matthaei Mosaics Win Golden Paintbrush Award (permenant exhibit)

Matthaei-Nichols Director Bob Grese envisioned a mosaic project to celebrate the unique habitats and flora of the state. Artist Yulia Hanansen designed the murals, and 47 volunteers from the community, completed the eight panels that now glow with gem-like colors from a previously bare brick wall at the entrance to the Botanical Gardens. The mosaics won the 2009 Golden Paint Brush Award from the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission (AAPAC). To see a gallery of the mosaics click here.

A view from the kaleidoscope
  • Garden Kaleidoscope in the Conservatory (permenant exhibit)

This kaleidoscope was created by Robert C. Anderson of Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. The garden kaleidoscope design is an original concept that Robert developed after being introduced to kaleidoscopes by his wife. Robert decided to design a kaleidoscope using flowering plants that could be used outdoors in a garden. Robert has created the interactive living sculptures since 1997.

  • Entry Gates (permenant exhibit)

The Ann Arbor Garden Club commissioned these entry gates to the Display Gardens at the Gardens in honor of their 75th anniversary. They were created by David Torgoff, an East Lansing artist, and were installed in the fall of 2005. It was the garden club's way of saying thanks to the Gardens where they have met for many of those 75 years.

  • Erich Steiner Fountains (permenant exhibit)

These bluestone fountains were installed as a memorial to past Gardens Director Erich Steiner (1971-77 and 1989-91). They were designed by John Stevens of K. C. Runciman Landscapes, Saline, MI.

  • Jane LaRue Memorial Sundial (permenant exhibit)

This sundial is a memorial to collections botanist Jane LaRue (1971-early 1980s). It was a commission done by Professor Jon Rush of the U-M School of Art. He studied bronze working at foundries in Italy and taught at Columbus College of Art before coming to the University. At the time of the sundial's installation on October 5, 1986 in the old Medicinal Garden, one of his sculptures was on display in Briarwood's concourse near Lord & Taylor. The sundial was moved to its current location when the display gardens area's redesign began in the 1990s.

  • Cenotaph (completed project)

This ancient stone memorial monument is one of the finest of its types in North America. The dramatic Arabic calligraphy is embedded in carved foliage, making it intentionally difficult even for scholars to read. Click here to read more...

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