There’s always something beautiful and exciting waiting for you in White River Gardens — come check it out!
That’s the message behind a new art installation near the entrance to the Indianapolis Zoo. It’s an awe-inspiring 3-D mural complete with vibrant, oversized butterfly sculptures and a lifelike image of the outdoor gardens. The installation is so big and bright that you can easily see it as you approach the Zoo on West Washington Street, and it offers a cheery welcome to guests visiting the Zoo and Gardens.
These colorful creations were a collaboration of many talented artists from Yves Art, Banner Art Studio, AMPeirce Cycles and the Zoo’s own Creative Services department. The results have transformed the Gardens entrance into a work of art that offers visitors a glimpse of what awaits inside.
The massive project began back in December as the Zoo was preparing for the opening of Butterfly Kaleidoscope presented by Citizens Energy Group. The Creative Services team wanted to do something unlike anything the Zoo had ever done before to help guide guests to the Gardens to see this all-new exhibit. So they came up with the overall concept and commissioned the amazing artists at Banner Art and Yves Art an amazing group of artists to create the installations.
Banner Art Studio designed the 3-D elements of the installation, which also flow over into the exhibit itself. They also produced the beautiful butterfly wings using vivid, translucent nylon fabrics that mimic the movement of the real butterflies. You can also see their creations suspended 65 feet overhead inside the Hilbert Conservatory.
AMPeirce Cycles fabricated the metal framework for the butterflies and the “trees” they rest on. Welded together using the same stainless steel that would normally go into their bicycles, they fabricated six 16-foot-tall branching structures, each holding two 8-foot-wide butterflies.
The vibrant mural painted on the exterior of the Schaefer Rotunda was created by Yves Art. It was done in a technique called trompe l’oeil, which means to trick the eye, and looks almost like a gateway to the 3-acre outdoor DeHaan Tiergarten. This mural will remain there year-round while the butterflies — much like their real-life counterparts — will “fly away“ during the off-season.
While the giant butterfly creations might look delicate, they’re actually quite durable and should provide a colorful greeting for Zoo guests for years to come.
Butterfly banner photo by Banner Art Studio. Butterfly mobile photo by Chris Bergin Photography.