Brookgren Brookgreen


The Brookgreen Medal is a prestigious, long running annual medal, commissioned by invitation, for Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. I was honored to be selected to create the medal by Robin Salmon, VP of Art and Historical Collections/Curator of Sculpture, and by the Brookgreen Council. Artists are given creative freedom within their choice of three themes - the sculptor at work, the flora and fauna of South Carolina and the history of the property of Brookgreen Gardens. The designs are to also include the wording “Brookgreen Gardens South Carolina”.

I chose the Black Crowned Night Heron as my subject based on the large population of them in Brookgreen's Cypress Aviary. About 90% of the birds in the aviary are Black Crowned Night Herons who often trustingly let visitors walk up very close to them. I love spending time watching and photographing these noisy, entertaining birds but they are often overlooked by park visitors so I wanted to highlight them in a beautiful way. The two sides of the medal show two sides of the bird's character - the serious, gruff side, and a playful, goofy side.

The composition of the design is intended to not only be pleasing individually on each side but also displayed side by side joined to make a single fluid design so the birds face each other in a yin-yang fashion.
Just over 1000 medals were struck by Medalcraft Mint to be given exclusively to Brookgreen members subscribing at the “Presidents Council” level and higher.

In conjunction with the release of the medal I also gave a weeklong medal making workshop, and a public talk about creating the Brookgreen Medal. The medals will join the permanent collection and display at Brookgreen as well as the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, The British Museum, the American Numismatic Society, and The National Sculpture Society.

Brookgreen Gardens was founded by sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington and her husband, Archer Milton Huntington in 1932 on Pawley’s Island SC on a 9,100 acre site. The land was formerly home to four rice plantations, including Brookgreen Plantation which was worked by as many as 1000 slaves at it’s peak. Currently over 1500 works of American figurative sculpture are installed at the Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington Sculpture Garden, including a large, and ever expanding, collection of art medals on permanent display. A must see for medal enthusiasts! It was the country's first public sculpture garden and has the largest collection of outdoor figurative sculpture by American artists in the world. It is also a nature and historical preserve with river tours and ongoing archaeological explorations.

3" x 3" Struck bronze
Medallic Art Co.

© Heidi Wastweet 2017