Ancient Art of Origami Inspires Sculptures in the Garden
Story by Bonnie Helander and Photos by Atlanta Botanical Garden

Hero's Horse

There is still time to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden this fall to enjoy the awe-inspiring traveling exhibit, Origami in the Garden, being presented through October 16. The garden is alive with 70 huge metal sculptures inspired by the ancient Japanese art of origami (paper folding), and created by Santa Fe husband and wife artists, Kevin and Jennifer Box. The designs were made from paper and wax and then cast into metal pieces of birds, flowers, butterflies and other symbols of nature.

Scents of Gratitude
Master Peace

The 18 installations at the garden are the most ambitious the artists have done to date. The tallest piece in the exhibit is Scents of Gratitude, standing 31’ tall, and weighing 5,300 pounds, with 77 flower components! Master Peace is a 24-foot tall monument depicting 1,000 stainless steel origami peace cranes – the worldwide symbol of peace. According to artist, Kevin Box, “The beautiful metaphor of origami, for me, is that it all starts with a simple, uncut square. That’s a great metaphor for life; what we do with that is really what defines us. Every fold has a consequence, just like every decision in your life.”

Pinwheel Wildflowers
Rising Peace
Perennial Peace

Each design the artists create start simply by folding a single, uncut sheet of paper. The design then goes through many techniques and processes until the final piece is considered a museum-quality metal sculpture that will take your breath away! Visitors interested in learning the step-by-step process can stop at the “Inside Out” exhibit in the Gardenhouse Gallery, which explains in detail how the artists created their masterpieces.


Fun Facts about the Exhibit:


  • It took the artists and their team three years to create the sculptures for the Atlanta exhibit. 
  • Six tractor trailers brought the exhibit 1,400 miles to Atlanta from New Mexico. 
  • The smallest outdoor piece is the White Rabbit – only 2’ tall and weighing 50 pounds. 
  • The heaviest piece is Hero’s Horse at 7,500 pounds.
  • Master Peace contains 1,000 cranes: 500 in the sculpture and 500 reflected in the water to symbolize the other 500 cranes spread throughout the world in private collections.  
  • This is the largest origami exhibition in the world.


Better the Butterflies

Origami in the Garden will be on display at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. For ticket information, go to or call 404-876-5859.