Arts Society & Culture

Student art competition to celebrate garden’s 75th anniversary

Monetary awards to be given in juried, two-dimensional hand art competition celebrating Founders Memorial Garden.

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia College of Environment and Design will hold a graphic arts competition in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Founders Memorial Garden located on Lumpkin Street. The competition, which will be open to UGA and area high school students, will take place during the 2012-2013 school year in anticipation of the garden’s jubilee celebration in 2014.

“This garden is a jewel in the UGA campus’ crown, and we are thrilled to be challenging students actually to get in the garden and create some original, inspiring art for its 75th anniversary,” said Dan Nadenicek, dean of the College of Environment and Design.

Since its inception in the 1930s, the Founders Memorial Garden has been a vital resource for design and horticulture students, he said. Faculty have used it both as an outdoor classroom and as a studio site to examine, study and exhibit garden design methods. The garden also has hosted thousands of social gatherings, from theatrical events to weddings to family reunions.

“What better way to celebrate the vision of this significant cultural landscape and its creator, Hubert Bond Owens, than to challenge students to use its innate beauty to create art?” Nadenicek said. “We are very excited and hope this will be just the beginning of a long celebration of this nationally registered historic site here on the UGA campus.”

Any UGA student registered during the 2012-13 school year will be eligible to compete for cash awards: $100 awards for honorable mentions and a $250 third place, $750 second place and $1,250 first place Founders Award. Area high school students will also be asked to participate through their individual schools’ art programs.

All artwork must be two dimensional and created by hand. This will include pen and ink, watercolors, collages, oil paintings and pencil drawings. Digital media and photography will not be included in the competition.

“In the spirit of the traditional discipline of landscape architecture, whose foundations lie in two dimensional art from the 18th century, we wanted to dare students to try to immerse themselves en plein air just like the first designers did in Europe, England and America,” said Marianne Cramer, a professor in the College of Environment and Design. She has used the garden for undergraduate studios as well as for the graduate course in landscape management. She has been instrumental in the conception and development of this competition.

Students will have approximately one year to create images based on the garden, a timeframe that allows students to experience the various seasons and the gardens’ ever-changing nature. The artwork must focus exclusively on the garden and can include its plants, landscape design, objects and structures. There is no entry fee; however, eligibility is strict and details will be laid out in March 2012 in an extensive prospectus to be found on the College of Environment and Design’s website at

A professional juror will make award decisions. Artwork will be presented to the public in the new Circle Gallery in 2013. The competition and exhibition are designed to kick off the celebration of 75 years and to reaffirm the Founders Garden’s use as a learning landscape and site of solace, restoration, meditation and pleasure. For more information, see

Founders Memorial Garden
The Founders Memorial Garden commemorates the 12 founders of the first American garden club, the Ladies Garden Club of Athens, founded in 1891. With funds raised by the Garden Club of Georgia, former dean Hubert B. Owens, his staff and students of the landscape architecture department designed the garden. The layout of the 2.5-acre series of garden spaces consists of a formal boxwood garden, two courtyards, a terrace and a perennial garden as well as two informal areas. The grounds are the location of the former headquarters house for the Garden Club of Georgia (from 1969 to 1998). The rose-brick, Greek-revival-style house was built in 1857, originally used for faculty housing. The house and garden are on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Georgia Register of Historic Places. Admittance is free and open to the public during daylight hours. The UGA College of Environment and Design is responsible for its care and maintenance with assistance from the UGA Physical Plant.

UGA College of Environment and Design
The UGA College of Environment and Design is one of the largest and oldest landscape design schools in the U.S. and is comprised of a five-year professional undergraduate degree as well as graduate programs in landscape architecture, historic preservation, environmental ethics and environmental planning and design.