For Immediate Release                                 Media contact: Barb DeGroot, 952-443-1459


Arboretum Presents Craig Mitchell Smith's 'Nature in Glass' Exhibit
Glass Sculptures in Arboretum Gardens May 31-Aug. 31

Chanhassen, MN (June 3, 2014) - A fanciful 15-foot dandelion puff on the lily pathway, a field of glass sunflowers, copper-colored iridescent koi fish leaping from the Japanese Garden pond, a swarm of bigger-than-life monarch butterflies ascending into the sky. 

The Arboretum's summer exhibit "Nature in Glass: The Wonders of Craig Mitchell Smith" is a "wow-filled" walk in the gardens. In all, 32 unique and stunning glass creations by Smith occupy Arboretum gardens and landscapes, as well as the inside the Oswald Visitor Center.  The exhibit continues through Aug. 31 and presenting sponsor is Wells Fargo.

Glass artist Craig Mitchell Smith has exhibited his glass artwork at botanic gardens and attractions around the country, including Disney's Epcot Center, Norfolk Botanical Garden and Dow Gardens.

Smith's sculptural technique involves cutting colorful sheets of glass in the shapes of brushstrokes and using a kiln as a canvas, similar to the style of a painter creating with paint.  He lays out shards of glass like paint on a canvas and fires these pieces until they melt and fuse into a desired form.

"In my kiln, I draw with hundreds of pieces of hand-cut glass, and fire them into fused forms. Then, I re-fire these forms over broken shards of pottery or custom-built stainless steel forms. For those based on precise designs, I control the dimensions very closely. For the organic shapes, I take the free-form pieces of glass in my hands and feel how they want to be together," he continues.  The glass components are then fastened into place to create a one-of-a-kind artwork.

Smith's artistic journey has been filled with interesting detours.  "As a self-taught artist, my curiosity and creativity have taken me in many directions over the years. I am a painter. I have done interior and garden design throughout the United States, set design for local theaters, and floral design," says Smith, who resides in Michigan. "In 2005, I found glass as my medium; medium not only in the sense of the substance used to create my art but as a voice through which the spirit speaks.

"I love glass for its metaphors of the human condition.  At its best, it is colorful and transparent, brittle when cold and malleable when warm, stronger than it looks, enduring the ages if treated with care and respect."

Glass art and gardens are a natural fit.  "The Arboretum is delighted to host the imaginative artistry of Craig Mitchell Smith this summer in our gardens.  His work will showcase and complement the beauty of our plants and landscape and the gifts of nature," said Ed Schneider, Arboretum director.  

"Nature in Glass: The Wonders of Craig Mitchell Smith" is free with Arboretum admission ($12 ages 13 & older; free for ages 12 & younger and free for members).  For more information, visit or call 952-443-1400.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the largest public garden in the Upper Midwest and a premier northern arboretum, is part of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota and developed as a community and national resource for horticultural and environmental information, research, and public education. It is located nine miles west of I-494 on Highway 5 in Chanhassen.     -END-