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Decorative steel arch will be a focal point of the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden

Atlanta artist Andrew Crawford is creating the steel archway that will welcome visitors to a new outdoor educational site for children at the UGA State Botanical Garden of Georgia.

Crawford, who owns Andrew T. Crawford Ironworks in Atlanta, has been a member of the State Botanical Garden Board of Advisors since 2011 and has helped with fundraising for the children’s garden as well as other projects. He created a forged-steel sign for the Mimsie Lanier Center for Native Plant Studies, which was completed in early 2016.

“It’s going to be a significant piece,” Crawford said. “It’s going to outlive a lot of people and influence a lot of children. I think a lot of people will have memories of it.”

The archway is being funded with a $225,000 gift from Atlanta residents Adrian and John Robinson, in honor of their mothers, who were early members of the garden’s advisory board.

Crawford has had a close relationship with the State Botanical Garden since it hosted an exhibition of his work in 2011. Three of the garden gates he designed and built are still on display there. He has shown pieces at the Georgia Museum of Art at UGA, at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, at Purdue University, and at other sites across the southeast.

State Botanical Garden Director Jenny Cruse-Sanders said she was amazed by Crawford’s creativity when she attended his exhibition in Athens six years ago. Crawford’s archway will set the children’s garden in Athens apart from other successful gardens in cities like Cleveland and Atlanta, she said.

“It’s not like anything I’ve seen before,” Cruse-Sanders said. “It adds a unique piece of art that makes it special. It sets up a signature, iconic image.”

Crawford is building the sculpture in sections at his Atlanta workshop and will put it together at the State Botanical Garden.

Construction began on the two-and-a-half acre, handicap accessible children’s garden in November. The garden is expected to be completed in early 2019.

By Christopher James

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