Lynden Sculpture Garden
Press Release

May at Lynden


By - May 4th, 2021 03:39 pm

May Day was all May, green stretching from the grass outside my window to the tops of the trees across the pond. There are variations, of course: a few trees are still holding out, waiting to leaf, and others are covered in a color that looks like a rusty pink amidst the surrounding green. The first sets of blossoms have blown away, hurried on by last weekend’s winds, but the lilacs are beginning to open and I’m always willing to endure the sneezing fit that follows a sequential immersion in the blossoms that line the formal garden.

On Saturday the Milwaukee Bonsai Society celebrated the birthday of Jack Douthitt, one of the luminaries of the bonsai world, and certainly the star in Lynden’s bonsai firmament, with cupcakes and a clean-up. The bonsai exhibition reopens on May 8, and will be open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm. Rumor has it that the trees have missed you. On Sunday, Justine Miller introduced walkers to the spring ephemerals that dot Lynden’s landscape. Yesterday, a group of students in Neal O’Reilly’s UWM Conservation and Environmental Sciences capstone class gave a presentation on preserving the oak savannah at Lynden, a project dear to the hearts of land managers Kyle Welna and Robert Kaleta, and one part of the urban forestry project we have undertaken with the generous support of a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant.

We may have left the glorious weather behind, temporarily, but there’s still plenty to do at Lynden this month. Kyle Welna and Robert Kaleta lead a tree walk that introduces different aspects of the urban forest (including the oak savannah) at Lynden; Chuck Stebelton is back among the birds for his monthly walk; dogs join their people on dog day; and Kyle Denton of Tippecanoe Herbs returns for a spring foraging herb walk. Jeremy Stepien wraps up the final session of his virtual art club; Claudia Orjuela offers two sessions of the in-person Tuesdays in the Garden (watch for news about the summer installment of this program); and they both are planning for this summer’s camps (for which you can register here). In the virtual world, we offer our last HOME Bilingual Story Time of the season—we’ll do an in-person version on World Refugee Day next month—Kim Khaira screens another immigrant-to-refugee interview as part of HOME: Conversations with Ourselves; and we host the UWM ArtsECO May Meetup for teachers (may it be in person next year). We have two virtual opportunities for readers in May. The HOME Book Discussion Group wraps up its engagement with Kao Kalia Yang’s Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir and the Women’s Speaker Series, sticking to its robust monthly schedule, hosts Mary Alice Monroe, author of The Summer of Lost and Found. We continue our intimate series, HOME: Conversations on Black Lives Matter: if you would like to become involved in these facilitated discussions, please email Kim Khaira at

All eyes are on June when we launch our dispersed celebration of World Refugee Day, inaugurate the summer camp season, begin a new series of programs with the Labyrinth Society of Lynden Sculpture Garden (Jenna Knapp), and welcome Call & Response artist-in-residence Daniel Minter to Lynden.

May 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.

Saturday, May 8, 2021 – 1-3 pm

Join the Lynden’s land managers, Kyle Welna and Robert Kaleta, Jr., on a walk around the grounds to discover Lynden’s urban forest. They will discuss the various trees and shrubs that make up the forest, urban forest management techniques, and Lynden’s exciting new tree inventory project ,which we are conducting with the assistance of a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant. This tree inventory will result in a management plan to help care for our valuable urban forest far into the future.

Sunday, May 9, 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.

Tuesdays, May 11 and May 25, 2021- 10:30 am-11:15 am
Sessions meet outdoors.

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 May is gardening at Lynden.

Wednesday, May 12, 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 May we are reading Mama the Alien/Mama Extraterreste, written by René Colato Laínez and illustrated by Laura Lacamara, read in Spanish and English.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 – 7-7:30 pm
FREE on Facebook:
More information:

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 May, Paul Vang (Milwaukee, WI) is in conversation with May June Paw (Milwaukee, WI).

Saturday, May 15, 2021 – 10 am-4 pm

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

Thursday, May 20, 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 May session, we will be discussing the final section of the book.

Saturday, May 22, 2021 – 1-3 pm

Stroll Lynden’s grounds with herbalist Kyle Denton and discover the bounty of plants found in the wilds of southeast Wisconsin. Drawing on folklore, ancient wisdom, plant identification, and science, Denton will expand your understanding of our relationship to the natural world.

Monday, May 24, 2021 – 7:00pm
WOMEN’S SPEAKER SERIES: Mary Alice Monroe, author of The Summer of Lost and Found

Lynden Sculpture Garden’s Women’s Speaker Series and Boswell Books welcome Mary Alice Monroe, author of The Summer of Lost and Found, to Milwaukee for a virtual, BYOS (bring-your-own-snack) event. The nationally bestselling Beach House series returns with this tender and compassionate novel following the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina as they face a summer of upheaval and change with perseverance, a spirit of unity, and a dose of humor. In The Summer of Lost and Found, Mary Alice Monroe once again delves into the complexities of family relationships and brings her signature “sensitive and true” (Dorothea Benton Frank, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling to this poignant and timely novel of love, courage, and resilience.


In June we wind down some of our virtual programming and offer more in-person programs. Beginning June 1, we extend our open hours from 10 am-5 pm (closed Thursday). This includes the launch of our summer camps at the end of the month. We begin our summer-long, dispersed celebration of World Refugee Day in June, with three virtual programs: the last of our livestreams of Conversations with Ourselves on June 9; a virtual celebration of World Refugee Day to complement a few small, in-person events on June 20; and our final Great Community Cooking Show with Tables Across Borders on June 27. There will be a bonsai workshop (June 12), a HOME Cultural Herb Walk with artist-in-residence Angela Kingsawan (June 12), the monthly bird walk with Chuck Stebelton (June 13), and the next installment of Discovering the Urban Forest, a tree walk with our land managers (June 26). Dog Day is June 19. Tuesdays in the Garden will meet on June 8 and June 22. The Labyrinth Society of Lynden Sculpture Garden is back in action, with artist-in-residence Jenna Knapp leading a New Moon: Planting Seeds of IntentionSevan Arabajian-Lawson (Cat Ries) for a Summer Solstice Sound Bath and Candle Labyrinth Walk (June 18). Back in the virtual world, the Women’s Speaker Series hosts Renée Rosen, author of The Social Graces (June 21). Call & Response artist Daniel Minter begins his project, In the Healing Language of Trees: a natural act of transformation restructured for curing many ills with a residency in June—more information to come!

See you outside,

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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