Graceful Perseverance: A Celebration of Bonsai at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

On view in the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum
February 2–May 1

Graceful Perseverance: A Celebration of Bonsai at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Specimens from BBG’s world-renowned bonsai collection and curator Julian Velasco. Photos courtesy of BBG.

Release Date: January 10, 2011

Brooklyn, NY—Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) announces its spring bonsai exhibition—Graceful Perseverance—a presentation of bonsai whose uncommonly poetic forms reflect those of trees that have adapted to extreme conditions in nature over countless years. Often dramatically windswept, bent, and twisted, these arresting specimens embody a lifetime of purposeful training under the expert hands of bonsai masters. The exhibition, on view in the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum from February 2 to May 1, features a selection of the Garden’s renowned collection of nearly 400 trees, long considered one of the best on public display outside Japan.

To celebrate the exhibition’s opening, the Garden will host an evening of fine sake tastings paired with exquisite vegetarian Japanese tapas created by Phillip Gilmour of Bushwick’s Momo Sushi Shack. Julian Velasco, BBG’s bonsai curator, will speak on the art of bonsai and the creation of the Graceful Perseverance exhibit, and renowned choreographer Momo Suzuki will present a short program of traditional dance with the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York. A reception will follow, featuring DJ Saiko Mikan spinning Japanese ’60s group sounds. Tickets are required upon entrance and are on sale for $75 at bbg.org/smallscale.

Graceful Perseverance is presented in conjunction with Carnegie Hall’s JapanNYC festival, led by artistic director Seiji Ozowa. For three weeks in March and April 2011, JapanNYC will feature traditional and contemporary Japanese art, dance, music, and film at participating venues throughout New York City. BBG is the only Brooklyn-based participant in the festival, and the only horticultural venue.


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Visit bbg.org for additional information about the exhibition, BBG’s bonsai collection, curator, and tips for growing bonsai at home.

Bonsai curator and organizer of the exhibition Julian Velasco will offer special talks in the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum on Saturday, March 19, and Saturday, April 2, from noon to 1 p.m. Additional tours led by BBG’s trained Garden Guides featuring Graceful Perseverance will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 5, and Sunday, February 6. Beginning the first weekend in April, Seasonal Highlights tours will feature BBG’s other signature Japanese collections, including the flowering cherry trees, the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, and the tree peony collection; tours are at 1 p.m. and leave from the Visitor Center.

The BBG gardening handbook Growing Bonsai Indoors is available in the Garden Shop, featuring contributions by BBG bonsai curator Julian Velasco. A selection of other books about bonsai is also for sale, along with tools, containers, and plants suitable for bonsai training.


Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is an independent nonprofit institution committed to education, research, and the display of horticulture. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the Garden is home to over 12,000 kinds of plants and hosts more than 725,000 visitors annually. Learn more at bbg.org.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Garden is closed on Mondays except public holidays. The Garden is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (65 and older) and students with ID. Children under 12, all school groups, and Garden members are admitted free at all times. From November 9 to March 11, the Garden is free to the public on weekdays and until noon on Saturdays. For directions, please visit bbg.org/visit/directions.

Learn what’s happening at Brooklyn Botanic Garden at bbg.org/visit/calendar, read the Garden’s blog at bbg.org/news, and see photos of current highlights at bbg.org/bloom.
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