Winchester will soon have an enormous American Ginseng plant growing in the center of the Adventure Play Area at Legacy Grove park. The sculpture spans 30 ft. in diameter and will stand 22 ft. tall. It will provide shade for community members to rest, relax, and watch their children play, as well as a location for future children’s programming.
“This sculpture isn’t just about providing shade to park-goers,” said Beth Jones, Legacy Grove project manager. “It’s a place for community, interaction, relaxation, meditation, imagination and education. Our Youth Design Team told us they wanted a place their parents and caregivers would be comfortable so they could play longer. This artwork provides that opportunity.”
The sculpture will consist of 96 laser-cut sections of stainless steel. Community members will be able to watch the plant “grow” from the ground up as it’s welded and mechanically fastened together on-site. The center flower stem will be installed first followed by what designer Amanda Matthews called “gigantic” leaves, the flowers and seed pods at the top.
Some portions of the sculpture will be polished steel that will act as mirrors and provide an opportunity for children and adults to see their faces in the plant and nature. The intricate design of the leaves will cast patterns of shade and filtered light as if you were sitting under a tree. Park-goers can arrange movable chairs underneath to follow the shade.
Matthews, of design/build firm Prometheus Art in Lexington, says she chose to model the sculpture after the American Ginseng plant because it’s an important plant historically in Kentucky’s Appalachian and Bluegrass regions.
“This sculpture shows how nature protects and helps us,” Matthews said. “American Ginseng has been used for medicinal and healing purposes. Locating the sculpture on the grounds of the former hospital is another way to honor the legacy of health and well-being the site provides for the community.”
The sculpture will be installed this fall as construction on the 31-acre Legacy Grove continues. The public park will feature nature trails, a 1.1-mile paved walking path, a world-class Adventure Play Area, and open lawns. The park is expected to open later this year.