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Spring 2002
A walk in the garden
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Garden Art and environment fuse within the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden to create a Tranquil Haven in a chaotic world

By Marina Dundjerski '94
Photography by Arwin Keawgumnurdpong

"I know a little garden — close…"
— William Morris

IN THE LIFETIME OF A GARDEN,
they are but brief moments of
respite or play, meditation or seriousness.

A toddler coos "pretty horsy" while petting Deborah Butterfield's Pensive under the approving gaze of his mother. A group of students plays Frisbee in a shallow dell beneath the splendorous shade of feathery jacarandas and California sycamores. A young woman retreats to the lawn in an intense cell-phone discussion with her boyfriend — assured her audience of steel and bronze statues will never reveal the details. And by George Tsutakawa's Obos 69, the garden's only fountain sculpture, four men practice Tai Chi, their measured precision nearly camouflaging them among the artwork.

It's a typical afternoon in the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, five acres of paradise on north campus that is whatever you want it to be: museum, sanctuary, study hall, social hub.

But combined, those moments — both the ordinary and the precious — fulfill a larger vision conceived by Murphy, UCLA's sixth chief executive, from 1960-'68. Murphy pictured the garden as part of everyday campus life. He dreamed of a place where young adults could gain an appreciation of art in an unobtrusive setting, taking in sculptures spontaneously over a span of years, yet being infinitely influenced by them.

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