Gala Culminates an Artful Season at Windmill Island Gardens

The year of the Artful Garden has been a hit at Windmill Island Gardens! Over 100,000 guests have experienced the art-themed display of floral splendor. Many visitors brought art supplies to capture the Dutch attractions, floral displays and natural beauty through the spring and summer. In culmination of the season, Windmill Island Gardens will be hosting an ‘Art in the Garden’ gala on Thursday, September 7th.

The gala will feature the announcement of winners in the ‘Art in the Garden’ plein air painting competition. Dozens of artists visited with easels, canvas and colors to capture all aspects of the Island’s beauty. Their paintings will be on display and available for sale for guests to take home beautiful original artwork. Paintings for the competition may be submitted through September 5th.

Windmill Island Gardens Development Manager Matt Helmus sees the event as a perfect way to cap a wonderful year. “It’s exciting to see beautiful paintings roll in that capture many aspects of what we do here on the Island”, says Helmus. “It’s been great to meet several artists and watch them interact with our visitors.” He noted that staff plan to make the competition an annual event as there is considerable interest from the art community and the public at large.

Guest juror Conrad Kaufman will be judging the first-year painting competition. Kaufman is an award-winning artist based in Kalamazoo. Growing up on a working farm in southwest Michigan, he is a self-taught artist who learned by capturing the beauty of his family’s farm. Kaufman specializes in murals that have been his full-time profession since 1995. His murals are located throughout the region in public places and private homes. In Holland, there is a Kaufman mural in the South Shore neighborhood (505 W. 17th Street) featuring Holland’s historical buildings, early immigrants and connections to the Wizard of Oz. In addition to murals, Kaufman paints landscapes, sculpts, and designs and builds furniture. His participation is generously supported by the Holland Friends of Art.

Visitors to the gala will also enjoy live music as well as appetizers and a cash bar. The event is free with a portion of art sale proceeds supporting Windmill Island Gardens. The gala runs from 6pm to 8pm. Following the event, many paintings will remain on display in the Windmill Island Gardens conservatory through the end of the season on October 1st. Further details on the competition, gala and other events can be found at