Ocean Muse by Cambid-J Choy


Visual Arts

The arts have always been important at Fernwood. Founder Kay Boydston was a weaver, dyer, silversmith, miniaturist, needle worker, and print maker. That tradition continues in periodic exhibits of work from Fernwood’s early days and in monthly classes offered by the Niles Handweavers Guild. 

The Clark Art Gallery displays art on nature and garden themes in exhibits that change bimonthly. The work of local sculptors is occasionally showcased in the gardens.

Even the landscapes at Fernwood are works of art, being carefully designed to complement the natural areas nearby.

Clark Lecture Hall and Art Gallery

Exhibits at Fernwood's Clark Lecture Hall and Art Gallery change every two months and feature various mediums. The Clark Gallery was generously funded by Clark Equipment Company, and later enhancements were made possible by a gift from Leo J. McKernan.

On occasion, the Gallery is used for private events. Please call ahead to ensure that your next visit includes viewing the beautiful artwork on display.

No admission required to view the exhibits and/or to attend an artist reception/talk.


“Artists respond to landscapes by trying to capture the nuances of a
beautiful, intriguing, or arresting scene.”  – Kathryn Barbin

Eligibility for 2018
The Clark Art Gallery at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve is pleased to announce the 4th Annual Fernwood Juried Landscape Exhibition. This all-media 2D competition is open to artists 18 years and older.  Each entrant may submit up to 3 entries, original in concept and execution. No installations. Artworks previously shown in a Fernwood exhibition are ineligible. A $250 cash award will be given for Best of Show. 

Entry Fee
An entry fee of $10 for each artwork or $25 for 3 entries is required. Entry fees are non-refundable.

Entries Due
Sunday, October 7, 1–4pm, or Tuesday, October 9, 10am–noon. Completed information forms with artist’s name, title of artwork, and price are required for each artwork. Please attach one form to the upper back corner of the artwork and give the second form to Fernwood staff during dropoff.

Size Limitations
The length or width of artwork may not exceed six (6) feet, or exceed 60 pounds.

Framing & Presentation

Each artwork is required to be framed or have finished gallery-wrapped canvas edges and wired for hanging. Please no saw-tooth hangers. Pastel paintings should have clean, dust free mats, under glass and framed.

Pick Up of Unaccepted Artwork
Due to limited storage, all artworks not juried into the exhibition are to be picked up on Wednesday, October 10, or Thursday, October 11, 10am–6pm, unless special arrangements have been made beforehand with the gallery curators.

Hold Harmless Clause
The greatest care will be taken in the handling of artworks. Fernwood disclaims any liability for loss or damage in connection with this exhibition.

Sales of Work
Artworks entered are for sale unless labeled NFS (Not For Sale). Fernwood retains a 30% commission on all items sold through its galleries. For all sales $600 and over per calendar year, artists are required to complete a 1099 Federal IRS form provided by Fernwood.

Artist Reception
The Artist Reception is Sunday, October 14, from 2–4pm in the gallery. Best of Show award will be announced at 3pm. The reception is free and open to the public.

Pick up of artwork
Due to limited storage, all artworks are to be picked up on Tuesday, December 4, or Wednesday, December 5, 10am-5pm. If artwork is not picked up on days listed or arrangements made for special circumstances, the artworks will become the property of Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve.  

Click HERE to download and print registration forms. Registration forms must be completed before dropoff at Fernwood.

Click HERE to pay registration fees online.

Clark Art Gallery

June Cary
Friday, August 3 – Sunday, September 30
Artist Reception on Sunday, August 5, 2–4pm.

June Cary, one of Niles' most prominent and well known fine artists of the last half century.  Although Cary's body of work includes seascapes, beach scenes and still-lifes, it is her garden scapes that predominate. Created in an impressionistic style she loves to experiment with unusual color schemes and expressive layers of texture. The compositions are anchored by garden fixtures including fences, steps, paths, and buildings. June works from photographs she has taken from all over the world, often from public gardens such as Fernwood in Niles and Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel. She often pieces together many of her photographs to create original compositions to inspire her. She lets a painting happen, working fast to maintain the spontaneity.  She has had more than 51-woman shows and been included in many group shows throughout Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Florida. Her pastels were featured in an article in the June 1998 issue of American Artist Magazine.

Curator's Gallery

Pokagon Potawatomi women artists

Wednesday, August 8 – Sunday, October 14

Trillium Hall

David Allen
Wednesday, July 25 – Sunday, September 9

Allen is a 67-year-old artist and has been painting since the age of sixteen.  He has ventured as far as the Peter Barlow Gallery in Chicago and the Denise Debroe Gallery in Manhattan. Allen has paintings in the South Bend Museum of Art permanent collection as well as the Mid-West Museum of American Art in Elkhart.  He is known for local city and neighborhood scenes.  He works outside, on location, in real time summer and winter.  He also paints non-representational work in my studio.


Sculpture Fernwood
 Sculpture Fernwood, an outdoor sculpture exhibit placed throughout the grounds at Fernwood, is curated by Father Austin I. Collins, CSC, Professor of Sculpture in the Department of Art, Art History and Design at the University of Notre Dame.

Take Five


Artist Patrick Dougherty created Fernwood's new stick sculpture, Take Five, in April 2014. Made from locally harvested willow and dogwood, Take Five is composed of five rooms that lean into each other connected by doorways and alleys. The roof is an oculus, as in an eye, opening at the top of each room, providing views of blue sky and sunshine. People are amazed at the size, sturdiness, and sweeping design of Take Five. Explore the sculpture, located adjacent to the South Vista garden, on the way to Fernwood's Railway Garden. Click here to learn more about Patrick Dougherty and Take Five.

Other Sculptures at Fernwood

Aside from the ten sculptures in Sculpture Fernwood, and Patrick Dougherty's stick sculpture, you will find two other sculptures on Fernwood's grounds, bringing the total to thirteen! 


 by Fritz Olsen

John and Mary Ann Butkovich of South Bend donated Aviary, a kinetic sculpture created by Fritz Olsen, an artist from Sawyer. Aviary is on exhibit in the entry garden outside the Visitors Center. Another Olsen sculpture, Sheltered Heart, is on exhibit as part of Sculpture Fernwood.  

June sculpture

 by David Skora

June is an attractive new sculpture in the Hosta Bowl garden, in memory of June Thomas from South Bend, Indiana. June loved Fernwood. Her son, Roger Thomas, and son-in-law, artist David Skora, originally from New Buffalo and now living in Connecticut, visited Fernwood after June's passing and thought a sculpture in her name on Fernwood's grounds would be a fitting memorial to Mrs. Thomas.