In celebration of Omaha's Sister City of Šiauliai, Lithuania, Lauritzen Gardens will host a second live demonstration of Lithuanian wood sculpture carving this fall. Thanks to a recent grant from the Douglas County Visitor Improvement Fund, from October 5 through 23, gifted and acclaimed folk artist and wood carver Aurimas Šimkus and his mentor Dalius Žymantus of Kurtuvėnai, Lithuania (located just outside of Omaha's sister city - Šiauliai) will be onsite carving new works as part of the Saulės Takas project.
Master carver Dalius Žymantas will be carving four wooden seats, representative of the beloved Lithuanian folk tale character Eglė's children in tree form. In the tale, Eglė's brothers betray her and her husband Žilvinas, the serpent prince, meets an unfortunate end at their hand. Overcome with grief, Eglė turns herself into a spruce tree and her children into oak, ash, birch and quaking aspen trees. These seats, with detailed carvings of leaves representative of these trees, will accompany the existing sculpture of Eglė, Queen of the Serpents. Additionally, Aurimas Šimkus will return to Lauritzen Gardens to carve a large gate, or archway that will include motifs that reflect Šiauliai's nickname, the City of the Sun. Once a permanent location for the grove is identified, the gate will also signify the entrance to the Path
The carving will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, just to the northeast of the lower festival garden in the old tram turnaround. Each day the sculptors will be demonstrating their creative wood-carving craft outdoors - in public view. On Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. guests can participate in an interactive question/answer session, with the assistance of a Lithuanian/English language interpreter. At other times, docents may be on site, but please note that the carvers do not speak English.
The long-term vision of the Omaha Friends of Šiauliai (a programming committee
of the Omaha Sister Cities Association) is to create a grove of Lithuanian folk wood sculptures at Lauritzen Gardens, called Saulės Takas (Path of the Sun), with a variety of pieces crafted by a diverse group of folk artists and wood carvers from Lithuania. This grove will be the first of its kind in North America and will be a reflection of the unique culture and history of Omaha's sister city of Šiauliai, Lithuania.
Lithuanian tree carving is an ancient and prevalent part of the culture of the Baltic States and is an art form for which this part of the world has become well-known. These wood sculptures symbolize the gift of Lithuanian culture to the people of Omaha, as Omaha celebrates its continued sister city relationship, as well as its active Lithuanian community.
Included with paid garden admission or membership.