Unexpected but welcome guests – painted lady butterflies – became part of the show at Art in the Garden Sept. 9 at the Sunken Gardens. Hundreds of the miniscule migrants fluttered from flower to flower throughout the gardens, adding splashes and dots of orange, brown, black and white to the already colorful garden near 27th and Capitol Parkway.

The butterflies landed on purple flowers more often than not, since garden designers Steve Nosal and Alice Reed honored the late rock musician Prince and his groundbreaking hit, “Purple Rain,” with the garden’s design.

Taking on the similar-sounding theme “Purple Reign,” Art in the Garden planners added a make-your-own flower crown booth and a photo booth to document attendees’ royal headgear creations.

The event featured a show and sale of art with 60 artists from Noyes Art Gallery, plus musicians, dancers and storytellers performing throughout the day. Attendees visited with several of the artists, who displayed and sold their artworks throughout the garden.

“I painted a koi fish during the event, and a guy from Singapore and his daughter stopped by and visited with me for 20 minutes,” said Dave Galois, an artist from Noyes Art Gallery. “People remember that one-on-one interaction, and hopefully they will look for me next year and buy some of my work.”

Created and coordinated by Julia Noyes, owner of Noyes Art Gallery, this fifth annual event benefits the Sunken Gardens as well as the artists.

“Without the support of Lincoln Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson, this event wouldn’t happen,” Noyes said. “The Sunken Gardens is a jewel of the city, and for us to be able to have our event here is phenomenal. They’re letting us use their baby for an entire day.”

Noyes also credited 150 volunteers for assisting with a multitude of tasks, including helping the artists carry their works in and out of the garden.

“For the artists, the event is exhilarating on one hand, but it’s exhausting on the other,” she said. “It’s a big day.”

Major sponsors were Ameritas and Great Western Bank, which provided both funding and volunteers for the event.


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