The new Powell Gardens exhibit is a eye-popping ode to the power of getting back outside

As the city starts to open back up, Powell Gardens’ new exhibit is more relevant than ever.

Head Outside features the work of seven ceramic artists within the horticultural displays at the Gardens. Before the pandemic hit, the planned exhibition was meant to reference the arrival of warm weather and enjoyment of the natural world. This spring, heading outside takes on a whole new meaning as many of us emerge from municipal stay-at-home orders.

A vignette of sculptures by Lawrence-based ceramic artist Nicole Rene Woodard was created during the shelter-in-place orders and conveys feelings of loneliness, melancholy, longing, contemplation and revelation that may accompany unfamiliar routines and being isolated indoors and away from loved ones.

A gathered set of sculptures crafted by students at the Kansas City Art Institute embody diverse perspectives and explore how we are learning to care for ourselves and each other as we move through the world, and how that care is being reimagined each day.

The giant head-shaped planters and succulent topiary on display in the gardens were made in response to the sculptural exhibit.

GO: Powell Gardens, 1609 US-50, Kingsville, Mo. Exhibit on display through June 21.

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