Visitors to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia will get an added treat this winter as UGA art students display their work among the many plants.

“Common Threads,” by Brittany Brush, a senior fine arts major from Marietta, is among the first exhibits. The sculpture depicts an eight feet long needle, made from fabricated steel, and stitches orange rope that run 700 feet along the entrance to the garden.

The sculpture is Brush’s observation of how human nature connects us to our natural environment.

“On its most basic level, my work is an attempt to transform ordinary matter into something extraordinary—to bridge the gap between the conceptual realm and the material world,” Brush said. “‘Common Threads’ is inspired by the artistic process itself, the materials used and how together they articulate a working visual language.”

The current partnership between the garden and the Lamar Dodd School of Art was initiated by Bush, who asked about installing her work there just as the SBG advisory board was considering what future art they wanted to feature.

“One of SBG’s overarching goals is to connect with as many groups as possible—both within and without UGA—and that’s one of many reasons that art has always been a prominent part of the garden,” SBG Director Wilf Nicholls said. “Featuring work created by UGA art students was a no-brainer for us.”

Brian Danson of Grayson, who graduated in December with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, also has a piece on exhibit in the garden. “The Music of the Leaves” is a steel sculpture of a treble clef with bronze leaves welded to its top.

Danson says the sculpture symbolizes the movement of leaves along invisible waves of sound, which he likens to a musical piece. It is also a reflection on the impermanence of everything in nature, as well as nature’s cyclical patterns, which parallels the cyclical patterns of music, he said.

“The gardens are somewhat of a sanctuary for me, a place where I find peace, beauty and a certain kind of freedom I feel when I connect so closely with nature,” Danson said.

The works will be on display until Feb. 28.

“The response to Brittany’s piece has been overwhelmingly positive, and we hope more students will follow her example,” Nicholls said “I think displaying student art makes SBG a more dynamic part of the university, and we would be delighted to see more of it come our way.”