ProjectsArt ExchangesPublic Art – Cincinnati/Liuzhou Friendship Garden in LongTan Park (2008)

Dedication of the Friendship Garden

The Cincinnati/Liuzhou Friendship Garden was realized in 2008 through a long-distance cooperation between professionals from both cities as a celebration of twenty years of cultural exchange within the context of the CinLiu Sister Cities relationship. Design and operations partners in Liuzhou’s beautiful LongTan Park cooperated with a probono design committee in Cincinnati to conceive of and develop the garden. The Cincinnati team included project manager Gerald Checco, founding co-sponsor and cultural facilitator Beth Tu Hoffman, Human Nature, Kolar Design, Jim Fearing, Dewey Hollister, and Jan Brown Checco. Jan’s exchange artist partner was He Zhenhai of Nanning. Each artist created a mosaic inlay for the two main plazas in the garden design. Other notable features were replicas of the Roebling Bridge and Eden Park Gazebo. The garden was dedicated in November 2008 with a colorful celebration in the garden that included a re-signing of the agreement of relationship between Cincinnati and Liuzhou, attended by a Cincinnati mayoral delegation of 80 travelers to China.

Jans’s Plaza Mosaic: “Ohio River Valley Portrait” (2008) The high places (spirals), low places, forests, fields and rivers (the blue bands) are overlain with man’s imprint of habitation and use. This basic “portrait” of the face of our homeland has not changed since the time when the only inhabitants were Native Americans. The beautiful face of Cincinnati bears the marks of our collective creative energy.

Friendship Bridge Panels (2012)

Four thematic designs were sent to Liuzhou, China, for application on 4’ x 4’ copper panels, and attachment to the foundation arches of the Friendship Bridge in Longtan Park’s Cincinnati-Liuzhou Friendship Garden. Described are the first life forms in the Ohio River Valley including Cincinnatian Era fossils, native plants and motifs created by the Adena and Hopewell peoples.

  • Mayor Mark Mallory of Cincinnati re-signs a memo of understanding that promises continuation of the Cincinnati-Liuzhou relationship in the context of the Cin-Liu Sister City committee.

  • The mayors in celebratory regalia, with Cincinnati mayor in an honorary custom made Ming jacket, and Liuzhou in his typical Western business suit.

  • Gerald and Jan at the dedication in their honorary jackets

  • Jan formally presents the mosaic to the mayors and delegation leaders. The image is based on an aerial view of Cincinnati with stamped symbols representing the lifestyle and nature of the land use in each neighborhood.

  • Jan and her artist partner He Zhenhai at Jan’s mosaic

  • Cincinnati exchange artist Terri Kern and Shelly Han, graduate of Cin-Liu Teachers of English program, ask questions of He Zhenhai at his plaza mosaic, a design that features two flying phoenix in the style of the minority peoples of Guangxi Province.

  • Jan’s mosaic inlay embellishes the pavement under the gazebo in the Cincinnati wing of the Friendship Garden. The mini-Roebling Bridge is in the background.

  • A climb to the peak of Crouching Tiger Mountain reveals the forms of the dragon head and neck (upper) and queen’s face (lower, inverted) connected by the bridge of friendship which spans the waters.

  • Liuzhou’s spectacular development of a mile long cascade and glowing cityscape proved to be an inspiration to Cincinnati city leaders, like so many other interesting and avant garde features of our Sister City.

  • Fossils from the Cincinnatian Period
    Cincinnati is known throughout the world for the abundant and beautiful fossils found in limestone and shale sediments left on the sea floor during the Ordovician Period, about 450 million years ago—220 million years before the dinosaurs lived. The shallow sea that covered much of what is now the North American continent was filled with marine life - trilobites, bryozoans, brachiopods, mollusks, echinoderms, and graptolites. So famous are these Ordovician fossils and rocks of the Cincinnati region that geologists use the term "Cincinnatian" for strata of the same age all over North America.

  • Native Plants of the Ohio River Valley
    Our woodland environment has been blessed with rich soils pushed to the front of Ice Age glaciers. The Ohio River and tributaries are surrounded with forests and fields abundant with trees, flowers and seed producing vegetables that have nurtured a thriving animal community throughout time. Featured are Karner Blue and Tiger Swallowtail butterflies, White Oak, Sycamore, American Elm, Black Walnut, Cottonwood, Red Maple, Bellwort, Columbine, Virginia Bluebells, Sweet Cicely, Jewelweed, Purple Coneflower, Blackeyed Susans, Blazing Star, Violets, Corn, Beans, Squash

  • Symbolic Imagery of the Adena and Hopewell Peoples
    The Adena people were mound builders and Ohio’s first farmers, living in villages where they supplemented their food sources with hunting abundant wildlife and gathering fruits and seeds from native plants. Their rich cultural and spiritual life is communicated to us through the stone, copper and pottery objects discovered within their mounds. The most famous of these ceremonial structures is the Serpent Mound in Adams County. The Hopewell people, also settled farmers, grew out of the Adena culture. Their concern for the welfare of the dead is expressed through symbolic diagrams engraved on clay and stone tablets, depicting sacred animals and a world of upper and lower realms.

  • Immigration to Cincinnati
    The Ohio River brought the earliest east coast immigrants to Losantiville, the name first given to Cincinnati. John Cleves Symmes led 60 persons and 14 four-horse wagons into lands inhabited by the Miami, Shawnee, Wyandot and Delaware natives. When Fort Washington was established in 1789, the trust in additional military security increased the flow of settlers who arrived by flatboats and keelboats. Steamboats ruled the rivers for decades, until farther-reaching railroad systems overtook water traffic. When automobiles became dominant in the 20th century, Powell Crosley’s lightweight automobile offered an energy-efficient option to the larger and heavier models out of Detroit.

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