Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

Documenting Life at Lynden During a Pandemic


By - Apr 3rd, 2021 11:10 am

We believe that Lynden is a laboratory: we work with artists, teachers, students, communities, and individuals to define Lynden as a space, and a place, and a resource. The Petri dish has been aswarm with bodies this year, but much of our interaction with our publics has been at a pandemic-conditioned distance. Although it is not clear when we will be able to declare ourselves safely post-pandemic, we would like, as we approach the one-year anniversary of reopening Lynden and waiving admission, to capture your thoughts and feelings about being at Lynden (or even participating in Lynden at a physical distance, because for some of us our most significant experiences have occurred in the virtual space we have created for Lynden) during the pandemic. These responses can be captured in images, short videos, poems, recollections, or sound. We will be putting out a call on Instagram and elsewhere this week with more details. We’re using the hashtag #LyndenDuringCovid and hope to create a virtual exhibition that captures what will soon seem—if the 1918 flu epidemic is any indication–like a fleeting memory.

Deep greens began to show through the dry patches of lawn this week and the bulb plants appeared to grow several inches in a few days. Spring is coming to the sculpture garden, and with it many visitors who continue to enjoy our pandemic free admission policy. Please be sure to adhere to masking and social distancing guidelines while at Lynden: we are not out of the woods yet. As a reminder, the sculpture garden will be closed to the public on Sunday, April 4, 2021.

Not that we’re living entirely in the present at Lynden just now. We made a decision to proceed with a summer camp program and posted the schedule online here. We have just about finalized our dispersed HOME World Refugee Day Celebration and will be posting those dates shortly. Artist visits are being planned, barbecue menus are being perused, and the fast-changing public health recommendations are being monitored.

This month, you can join Chuck Stebelton for some birdwatching or bring your dog for dog day. The HOME Book Discussion Group continues with parts II and III of Kao Kalia Yang’s Somewhere in the Unknown World, and newcomers are welcome (virtual). The Women’s Speaker Series offers a virtual visit with Stephanie Dray, author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette. Kim Khaira continues to rescreen our refugee-to-refugee interviews on Facebook Live, and the intrepid refugee chefs of Tables Across Borders get together online to cook desserts during the latest installment of The Great Community Cooking Show. Small children can attend Tuesdays in the Garden (in person) and this month, our bilingual HOME Story Time features Four Feet, Two Sandals, written by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed, and illustrated by Doug Chayka (English); and Biaka sauvée!, written by Adrienne Yabouza and illustrated by Zaü (French).

April events, arranged chronologically:

All in-person programs take place outdoors. For the safety of all concerned, you must register in advance. Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

Sunday, April 11, 2021 – 8:30-10 am

Join poet and birder Chuck Stebelton the second Sunday of each month for a small-group, socially distanced bird walk on the grounds. Keeping to the perimeter of the garden, we’ll watch for seasonal migrants and resident bird species and seek out the best bird habitats to identify as many species as we can. Please dress for the weather and plan to walk in varied terrain. Bring your binoculars if you have them; no previous birding experience required.

Monday, April 12, 2021 – 7:00pm
WOMEN’S SPEAKER SERIES: Stephanie Dray, author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette

Lynden Sculpture Garden‘s Women’s Speaker Series and Boswell Books welcome Stephanie Dray, author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette, to Milwaukee for a virtual, BYOS (bring-your-own-snack) event. Most castles are protected by powerful men. This one by women…
An epic saga from New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy.
Intricately woven and beautifully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we find from standing together in honor of those who came before us.

Tuesdays, April 13 & April 27, 2021- 10:30 am-11:15 am

The 40 acres that house the Lynden collection of monumental outdoor sculpture are also home to many birds, insects, frogs, mammals, and plants. Join art educator Claudia Orjuela for hands-on art making and all-senses-engaged exploration of the outdoor world at Lynden. We’ll consider a new theme each month, each designed to engage your child’s curiosity and encourage outdoor play, experimentation, and the manipulation of art materials. Tuesdays in the Garden is designed for children aged 1 through 3 and their caregivers. The theme for April is trees are our friends.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021– 10:30-11 am

Join us for a virtual, bilingual HOME Story Time from the comfort of your home. HOME Story Time features children’s books written or illustrated by authors, illustrators, and artists who have faced forced displacement as refugees, asylum seekers, or immigrants. Designed for children aged 4-8, we end each session with an art activity from Lynden art educator Claudia Orjuela. Worksheets and handouts will be available for download. Scheduled to screen every second Wednesday of the month, HOME Story Time is a collaboration with the Milwaukee Public Library, the Islamic Resource Center, Hanan Refugee Relief Group, Alliance Française de Milwaukee, and Milwaukee African Women’s Association. Videos will remain on view once they are posted. In March we are reading Four Feet, Two Sandals, written by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed, and illustrated by Doug Chayka, read in English; and Biaka sauvée!, written by Adrienne Yabouza, illustrated by Zaü, read in French.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – 7-7:30 pm

As we approach World Refugee Day 2021, Lynden’s community engagement specialist Kim Khaira will screen interviews from our HOME: Conversations with Ourselves series on one Wednesday evening each month on our Facebook page. HOME: Conversations with Ourselves is an interview project of the HOME steering committee at Lynden. The interviews were designed to give voice to refugees and began as part of the virtual work on the HOME platform in 2020. Interviewers are refugees who have resettled to the United States, and their interviewees include both friends and family who are based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as well as those who remain overseas. These interviews are reflections of relationships and conversations that we continue to have long after resettlement; they explore issues that our refugee friends and family members continue to face as they remain in their country of origin or interim country. In April, Sumeya Osman (USA) is in conversation with Joyeux Mugisho (Uganda).

Saturday, April 17, 2021 – 10 am-4 pm

Bring your canine friends for a wintery walk. Dogs must be leashed and considerate of other visitors, canine and human.

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – 7-8:30 pm

The Lynden/HOME Refugee Steering Committee book discussion group, moderated by Lynden’s Kim Khaira, is for those interested in firsthand accounts of displacement. We consider works of non-fiction, including autobiographical and semi-autobiographical works, by writers who have faced or are facing forced displacement as refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants. Where stories of persecution, historical trauma, and loss of livelihood are effortlessly conveyed by storytellers, journalists, and humanitarians who search out or stumble upon the lives of refugees, we seek out the words of those to whom these stories belong: the narrators who are the closest to their own stories, and the stories of their people, friends, family and, of course, refugees.

We continue the series with Kao Kalia Yang’s Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir. Yang, a well-known storyteller and a Hmong refugee herself, portrays the experiences of refugees resettled to the Twin Cities in a collection of stories. This collective refugee memoir covers cultural, political, and personal commentary, and the journey that brings refugees from their country of origin, from Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Somalia or Russia, to Minnesota, the highest number of refugees per capita in the United States. In the April session, we will be discussing the second and third part of the book.

Sunday, April 25, 2021 – 2-4 pm
On Facebook live at
Like the Lynden Facebook page to be notified when we go live!

The HOME Refugee Steering Committee at Lynden and Tables Across Borders invite you to join us for the next episode in our (virtual) bimonthly community cooking series. Tables Across Borders is a global food tour collaboration highlighting local refugee chefs and the cuisines and cultures of refugee communities in Milwaukee. The community cooking series is an opportunity for chefs across cultures to share tips and recipes from their own cuisines while also allowing us to explore how cuisines cross-pollinate as people migrate and need to adapt techniques and ingredients in a new homeland. Cooking is a place where we interact, exchange, borrow, and invent and imagine new ways of being with each other. In April we are featuring traditional desserts by head chef Tahani Fadel from Syria, and participating chefs from the Somali, Karen, and Rohingya/Burmese community. Sponsored by Our City of Nations.


We will be offering several opportunities for you to get outdoors at Lynden in May: a Spring Ephemerals Walk with Justine Miller (May 2), Discovering the Urban Forest, the first of a series of tree walks with our land managers (May 8), our monthly Bird Walk with Chuck Stebelton (May 9) and a dog day on May 15. The very young can head outdoors with Claudia Orjuela for Tuesdays in the Garden (May 11 and May 25), and they can join our virtual HOME Bilingual Story Time on May 12. Other virtual HOME programs include another livestream of Conversations with Ourselves, our refugee-to-refugee interview series, on May 12, and our HOME Book Discussion Group, which will be focusing on the final section of Kao Kalia Yang’s Somewhere in the Unknown World (May 20). Finally, on May 24, the Women’s Speaker Series hosts a conversation with Mary Alice Monroe, author of The Summer of Lost and Found.

Enjoy the sunshine!

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