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Art of Nature Maria embosses.

To celebrate the highly acclaimed and new Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, the Dallas Arboretum hosts Art of Nature in partnership with SMU Meadows School of the Arts on Sunday, April 6, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., in Rosine Hall. This art competition and exhibition is for 3rd through 12th grade students to display their nature-inspired artwork for Arboretum guests to see and admire the talent of many students in the community.


For students wanting to enter the competition, artwork submissions will be accepted on March 30, 31, and April 1 in Rosine Hall and must be accompanied by a parental permission form, Visit for complete details. SMU Meadows School will provide a scholarship to its Summer Art Program for Best of Show winner to a high school student or a half-day private lesson to a middle school student.


This event is part of the year-long celebration entitled “The Year of the Children’s Garden, “ which includes custom events and programs to highlight the unique educational offerings of this “museum without walls.” Admission is free with paid entrance to the Dallas Arboretum.


Art of Nature Chairwoman Kate Juett said, “This competition will be an excellent experience for students, particularly high school students who are building their portfolios and resumes for college applications. It’s also a fun opportunity for children to exercise their creativity in making art inspired by nature—whether they receive their inspiration from a vine growing on their back fence or a tree or flower in one of the exquisite gardens at the Arboretum.”


One such school participating in the competition is W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy, a DISD middle school based in North Oak Cliff with about 1,500 students total. Of the 1,500, 500 are Academy students.


JoAnna Henry, a visual arts teacher at Greiner, said, “As a native Dallasite, I’ve always loved the Dallas Arboretum and the joy and beauty that institution brings to our city. I visited the Children’s Garden for the teacher preview, heard about the Art of Nature Exhibit, and knew it would be valuable for my students to create beauty in a work of art.” Her 8th grade students are creating an embossing on metal work with encaustic (melted wax painting).


The W. E. Greiner Arts Academy is designed to attract students from all over the district who have a special interest and talent in the arts. While in 5th grade, students in classes audition to enter the three-year program starting at 6th grade. Each grade level has a rigorous year-long study of art, with options for advancing to a two-hour block in the eighth grade. Classes are designed to promote students to Booker T. Washington, the Arts Magnet High School, should they choose to apply there.


Another school participating is St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in East Dallas. Two students have both chosen to do watercolor interpretations of some favorite area of theirs at the Dallas Arboretum. Cindy Lewin of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, said, “The visual arts are a big part the school experience. Each grade level has a different curriculum that incorporates painting, drawing, weaving, metal work, ceramics, and sculpture. I try to also integrate some type of cultural studies along with a science, math, political, or historical aspect to all lessons.”


St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School is home to 877 students, grades PK3 through 8th grade. It is the largest Catholic PK-8th grade school in the state of Texas. In September 2012, the U.S. Department of Education recognized St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.


Kaki Hopkins, chair of The Year of the Children’s Garden, said, “This celebration of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden’s inaugural year provides exciting programs that are presented by respected professionals in the field of nature and chaired by exceptional community leaders. Chair Kate Juett has worked hard to make sure this art competition is top notch, so we hope many will come to see the nature-inspired artwork that these students have created.” More events can be found at


About the Dallas Arboretum and the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden:

Officially debuted by the Dallas Arboretum in September 2013, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is a sprawling 8-acre interactive garden designed specifically to address state and national science standards in life and earth sciences for preschool to middle school students. Built to encourage youth interest in science and nature, the garden’s interactive exhibits, cutting-edge technology and indoor/outdoor learning labs have earned rave reviews from parents and leading educational experts.  


Located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum is among the leading display gardens in the country, set among 66 acres at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas, 75218. The internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is an 8-acre interactive garden designed specifically to address state and national education standards in life, earth and environmental science. Children and adults learn about life and earth science in the 17 galleries that teach the areas in the K-6 grade curriculum standards that can best be taught outdoors. These include photosynthesis, pollination, the solar system, erosion, energy and more. For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visit the Arboretum’s website at

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