Meet The 2015 ArtPrize Artists – Part 1

Tradition and Innovation: Japanese Ceramics Now is a highly unique exhibition bringing together 25 of the leading ceramics artists from across Japan. Although most are widely recognized and critically acclaimed in their native country, few have exhibited in the United States – making this a must see exhibition experience.

Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to the participating artists in their own words and showing you their works. All 25 masters participating in the exhibition are Japanese, making this the first all-national venue in ArtPrize history!

Kunihiro AkinagaMimesis – Vote Code 61089
“I use the bones of animals for my theme – decoration. I form and design the patterns on each bone and copy them on to a paper pattern and create them using the hand forming technique. After firing, I put all of the parts together in a skeletal structure. My image of decorations are the excess decorations of temples and churches – the view of the world between life and death. I also feel that by decorating, the truth of things gets hidden. For example, in our lives the packaging and decoration of our food diverts our attention from the death of animals. By using the concept of decorations you can find modernity even in something universal such as life and death.”

Mimesis by Kunihiro Akinaga

Mimesis by Kunihiro Akinaga

Tadami Hirota – Gold and Silver Colorful Bush Clover Pattern Small Container with Lid – Vote Code 61021
“The bush clover that sways in the wind appears often in “Manyoushuu”. I expressed lovely, beautiful curves in the form of a round container with a lid.”

Gold and Silver Colorful Bush Clover Pattern Small Container with Lid

Gold and Silver Colorful Bush Clover Pattern Small Container with Lid by Tadami Hirota

Masami HosokawaTake A Flight – flying form –  Vote Code 62521
“‘Flying’, ‘swelling’, ‘spreading’, ‘dreams’, ‘hope’, ‘the universe’, ‘infinity’ – I gave one form to all things that are positive.”

Take a Flight - flying form - by Masami Hosokawa

Take a Flight – flying form – by Masami Hosokawa

Tetsuya Ishiyama – Inlaid Colorful Earthenware Pot – Vote Code 61239
“By using an inlaid technique I created a geometric pattern, by which I expressed the stereoscopic effect of overlapping cloths.”

Inlaid Colorful Earthenware Pot by Tetsuya Ishiyama

Inlaid Colorful Earthenware Pot by Tetsuya Ishiyama

Seigo Kaneyuki – Band of Light  – Vote Code 61153
Created by its original technique called “Ligne Hotaru”, it has developed from the traditional Japanese technique “Hotarude”. Its delicate lines of light take us to the other side of everyday life.

Band of Light by Seigo Kaneyuki

Band of Light by Seigo Kaneyuki



Plants in The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden

A Japanese Garden is not a collection of Japanese plants, but rather a garden style steeped in centuries of tradition.  The three essential elements in a Japanese Garden are rocks, water and plants.  It is the plants that provide seasonal changes and color in the garden.

Plants in a Japanese garden do not need to be native to Japan.

While The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden includes plants that are native to Japan, it also features plants native to Michigan and other temperate climates throughout the world. All of the plants were sourced from nurseries in the United States. The important things to notice are how the plants are planted, how they are pruned and the way they are nurtured.

Ten prominent plants in The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden:

Pines are one of the most important trees in a Japanese Garden.  They can act as a backdrop or be meticulously pruned. Trees or woody shrubs in a Japanese garden are called “niwaki”.  Niwaki are carefully pruned to represent the “idealized form of a tree.”

  • Niwaki Austrian pines, Pinus nigra, are located outside the entry gate and throughout the Japanese Garden. Austrian pines are also planted around the perimeter of the Japanese Garden to provide screening.
  • A specimen Scotch pine, Pinus sylvestris, is located at the entrance to the Cherry Tree Promenade. This is known as the “gate pine.” Scotch pines can also be found among boulders at the waterfalls. Notice the lovely orange bark on older specimens!
  • Additional pines include the mugo pines, Pinus mugo, Eastern white pines, Pinus strobus, and Japanese white pines, Pinus parviflora.

Niwaki Pine

Japanese maples, Acer palmatum, are used throughout the garden.  Notice the different forms, leaf shapes and colors. In Japan, their brilliant autumn colors are a big attraction. Japanese maples also make great bonsai specimens. There are more than 700 different cultivars and the leaf shape varies considerably. Our Japanese Garden has more than eight different cultivars and these include ‘Butterfly’, ‘Nuresagi’, ‘Sangokaku’, ‘Bloodgood’, and ‘Crimson Queen.’

Japanese Maple

Japanese flowering cherries are featured in the Cherry Tree Promenade and along the shore near the Zig-Zag Bridge.  Our garden features upright, weeping and contorted forms. They typically bloom in mid to late-April (depending on weather conditions and the variety) and peak bloom lasts for about one week. The flowering cherry (sakura) is the national flower of Japan. They are celebrated every spring with cherry blossom “viewing parties.”  Even the falling petals are admired.

Serviceberry, Amelanchier spp., is an example of a tree that is native to our region and planted throughout the Japanese Garden, including at the Main Gate.  It has small white flowers in the spring, followed by small red to dark purple fruits that attract birds.  In the fall the leaves turn a lovely orange-red color.

Wisterias have been grown in traditional Japanese gardens for more than 1,000 years. Wisterias are featured on an arbor between the North and South Waterfalls.  They produce pendulous clusters of lavender flowers in the spring. Wisteria plants can live for hundreds of years!


Spireas are native to Japan and a new cultivar called ‘Double Play Gold’ is featured on the Mike and Sue Jandernoa Viewing Hill.  It produces golden yellow foliage and pink flowers throughout the summer. As they grow they will provide a low, undulating effect. 

Azaleas can be found throughout the Japanese Garden.  Lovely flowers cover the plants in the spring. We planted many different types in a variety of colors. Most of the azaleas we planted are evergreen.  Notice several lovely, large specimens tucked in amongst the large boulders at the waterfalls.


Many people are surprised to learn that some kinds of bamboo are winter hardy in Michigan. We planted ‘Yellow Groove’ bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata forma aureocaulis) and Incense bamboo (Phyllostachys atrovaginata) near the Zig-Zag Bridge, Tea House, and restrooms. Incense bamboo is named for its fragrance—it produces a wax on its stems (culms) that has a fragrance similar to sandalwood. Bamboo can be found growing in the wild throughout Japan. It is also a part of daily life and is used in many different ways—to make fences, brushes, rakes, chopsticks, bowls, flooring, scaffolding etc. Bamboo symbolizes strength and flexibility.


Hundreds of Japanese irises, Iris cristata and Iris versicolor ‘Gerald Darby’, are growing in the water and along the shore near the Zig-Zag Bridge. They bloom in early summer and will produce a stunning display of blooms.

Japanese Iris

While many people try to eliminate moss from their gardens, in Japan it is regarded as an essential element. It grows over boulders and across the ground. There are more than 100 different types of moss. This lovely plant does not have true roots and absorbs moisture and nutrients through its leaves. It thrives in climates with high humidity and surprisingly, it can be difficult to grow. It can take many years for moss to form a dense mat. In our Japanese Garden we have a section called the “Natural Style Moss Garden” where you will see just how beautiful moss can be overtime.

MossPlants are used in unique ways in the Japanese Garden.

In a Japanese Garden, trees are often planted on an angle—on purpose!  In our Japanese Garden you’ll notice this is most common along the edges of the ponds, but you can see it in other places too. This echoes what happens in nature—branches extend over the water to reach the sunlight, their shallow roots don’t provide as much support in the steep, moist soil and the trees lean.

Plants are tucked in small pockets of earth between the boulders. You’ll see this in many areas of our Japanese Garden, including the approach to the Tea House. Along this path, the uneven stones require you to look down and watch your footing. Here you will see plants growing “naturally” between the stones and boulders, much as you would experience in nature.

Bamboo is used in a variety of structures, including the fence near the Tea House and the wisteria arbor. The largest canes come from a class of bamboo known as timber bamboos.

Some pines are meticulously pruned.  This is done in the spring and autumn and requires great skill and patience to do this correctly.

In Japanese gardens, groupings of shrubs, often azaleas, are clipped into organic shapes that suggest mountains, waves, boulders, clouds or clumps of trees. This is different than European topiary, which is more formal or geometric. This is not obvious now, but you will see this develop over time.

The Cherry Tree Promenade features several different varieties and forms of Japanese flowering cherry trees, including weeping, upright and contorted forms. The promenade also includes large boulders and views of a tranquil waterfall. The intention is to help visitors leave cares and concerns behind before you enter the garden.

Lawn, which is so prevalent in American gardens, is used in only one area in our Japanese Garden—it is included in the gathering area at the north end of the Cherry Tree Promenade.

About 15-20 bonsai are prominently featured in the Bonsai Garden, displayed from April through November (weather permitting).

The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden – Frequently Asked Questions (and answers!)

Who are the donors?

The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden has been made possible through the generosity of Fred and Lena Meijer, Richard and Helen DeVos and roughly 300 individuals and organizations that supported the Japanese Garden campaign.

Who designed it?

The Japanese Garden was designed by Hoichi Kurisu, recognized among the world’s leading designers of Japanese gardens. Born in Hiroshima a few years before World War II, his family experienced serious hardships after the war including having to forage for food in nearby woods. An understanding of the power of nature to sustain life, both physically and psychologically, stayed with him and later developed into a passion for gardening and landscape design.

Having trained in Tokyo and learned the intrinsic value of Japanese garden principles, he moved to the United States in 1968 and worked as the landscape garden director at the renowned Japanese Garden Society in Portland, Oregon. He then opened his own firm, Kurisu International, in 1972 and since then has created numerous Japanese gardens throughout the United States as well as in other countries. Among other awards, he received the National Landscape Award presented at the White House in 1992 and 1998 and was named one of the ten most influential Japanese garden designers worldwide by the Roth Journal in 2005.

Which Grand Rapids businesses assisted Hoichi in the creation of the garden?

Progressive AE provided engineering and architectural services, primarily for necessary support and structures below ground level. Owen-Ames-Kimball provided construction support and supervisory services. Many local contractors provided a variety of services.

Who designed and built the architectural structures?

The architectural structures were all designed in Japan by Japanese architecture firms, and all were at least partially built in Japan and then shipped to Meijer Gardens to be reassembled on site.

Will it be open year-round?

Yes. It is intended to be enjoyed in all seasons. During the winter months some areas and pathways may occasionally be closed due to weather.

Is it accessible?

Yes. All areas with a challenging terrain have an alternate path nearby, and paths and bridges are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs.  All guests are asked to be cautious on stone paths and hilly areas.

How big is it?

The “footprint” of the Japanese Garden is eight acres, with 2½ of them taken up by the Lena Meijer Pond. The main path through the garden is ¾ of a mile long.

Is there an extra charge to enter it?

No. The Japanese Garden is free with admission.

What opportunities will guests have to learn about our Japanese Garden?

We have an illustrated brochure, a map of the garden, a family looking guide and docents positioned in the garden to answer guests’ questions. Information about the garden will be shared during our regular tram tours, incorporated into our summer camp line-up and added into our website. Tea ceremonies and tea ceremony demonstrations will be offered in the summer and fall through our classes program, and a film on the creation of the garden will be shown in the Hoffman Auditorium beginning in late fall. Classes for adults will be offered in the fall.

What is the Tranquility Zone: A Japanese Garden Environment for Families exhibition?

Tranquility Zone, sponsored by PNC Bank, is an interactive exhibition in the Snell Sculpture Education Center that translates Japanese Garden concepts into kid-friendly activities. There are three main activity areas—a teahouse, a Zen-style garden and a bridge over simulated water—and self-directed activities springing from each. Docents will be on hand to supervise many additional activities. All signage is hidden so that it must first be discovered and only then acted upon—with search-and-find challenges, did-you-know tidbits and activity prompts.

How will guests know how what is expected of them in the Japanese Garden?

Etiquette rules will be stated on the brochure, map and signage. As with all other areas of Meijer Gardens, guests are expected to stay on paths and bridges, not to touch or climb on rocks, sculpture or trees and to respect the quiet and serenity of this unique garden space.

Why are there so many boulders?

Boulders are important to Japanese gardens. They are one of the first elements introduced and they symbolize permanence. More than 4,000 boulders have been moved to the site from various areas in West Michigan: they are used for structural, aesthetic and artistic reasons.

What is the significance of the lanterns?

Lanterns were traditionally placed along paths, bridges and ponds to light the way to an evening tea ceremony; our lanterns are used for decoration.

What is the significance of the pagodas?

Pagodas are multistory structures that originally enshrined sacred relics. Found in Buddhist temple complexes, they increased as Buddhism spread through East Asia. Japanese pagodas were made of wood whose flexibility enabled them to survive earthquakes. Later, small stone pagodas were used in gardens.

How much money was raised to build the garden?

There was a successful $22 million capital campaign; a portion of the funds raised were used to establish an endowment to care for the garden in the future. We continue to accept gifts to build the fund. New sponsorship opportunities within the Garden have also been identified. Anyone interested in supporting the endowment fund or learning more about sponsorship opportunities may contact the Development Office.

What is a tea ceremony?

A tea ceremony is the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha (finely powdered green tea) for the enjoyment of one or more guests. The utensils are first cleaned in a precise order using exactly prescribed movements; every movement has meaning. While the ceremony is being performed silence is observed. Tea ceremonies are intended to appeal to all the senses: taste (tea and sweets), hearing (boiling water, sounds of nature in the distance), sight  (ceramics  and scroll), touch (ceramic tea bowls), smell (ikebana flowers and flowers growing outside the teahouse). Traditional tea ceremonies are based around the seasons, with the ikebana, scroll and ceramics all reflecting the current season. After the ceremony, it is the responsibility of the guests to offer comments and compliments.

What is a Zen-style garden?

A Zen-style garden is a dry landscape garden, carefully composed of arrangements of rocks and gravel that is raked into patterns. The rocks often symbolize mountains or islands and the gravel can represent rivers, waves, rippling water or oceans. Zen-style gardens are usually surrounded by a wall and are meant to be viewed from a single viewpoint—a bench or, traditionally, the porch of a temple adjacent to the garden. They are not meant to be entered or walked through at all. Zen-style gardens at Buddhist temples in Kyoto were intended to imitate the essence of nature and to aid in meditation about the meaning of life. The repetitive motion of raking helped monks focus and concentrate.

What is a Bonsai garden?

A bonsai garden is a grouping of bonsai plants for display. Our Bonsai Garden features roughly twenty rotating bonsai from our collection which will be displayed from April through November, weather permitting. Bonsai are plants that are trained to look as if they are timeworn by the forces of nature.  Almost any kind of plant can become a bonsai.

What is a Zig-zag bridge?

A Zig-zag bridge is a wooden bridge used in Japanese gardens; the name comes from its angular, zig-zag path. Originally zig-zag bridges were simply wooden planks used by farmers to traverse wet areas of their land. Later, they began to be constructed over marshy areas where irises were planted; the zig-zag pattern allows the plants to be seen more clearly. It is sometimes said that zig-zag bridges were designed to evade evil spirits which could only travel in straight lines. This is a myth; it is completely false!

Are all the plants native to Japan?

Roughly 5%-10% of the plants are native to Japan. The others are native to Michigan and other temperate climates throughout the world. What matters most is which ones are selected, how they fit into the overall design of the garden, how they are planted, how they are pruned and the way they are maintained.

How many sculptures are there?

There are seven sculptures, all created in the recent past and selected because they complement ideas and concepts in the Japanese Garden itself.

They are:

The title refers to a term the artist created to describe mature trees with curved lower trunks that resemble the curved blade of a sabre. They are staked at an angle to produce this growth and will continue to be pruned for many years to come. This piece is part of the Japanese Garden.

This work consists of a single piece of granite, carved and polished using power tools. Viewers can see themselves reflected in the three circles, which promotes viewer engagement and affects viewers’ perceptions of space.

Long Island Buddha is positioned at an angle as if it were a recently discovered historical monument, suggesting longevity and survival. It reflects a major source of inspiration for Japanese gardens in general—Buddhism.

Existence is a five-part sculpture made of granite. Selected portions of the stone are revealed through carving and polishing; the rest is left in its original, rough form. The title refers to what the artist felt existed within the stone.

Rickey is known for developing kinetic sculptures that move with the air. This horizontal piece is unlike his other works which are vertical. Positioned in the pond, it moves with the wind above the water. Gyratory is a word Rickey used to describe the circular movement of this piece, like hands on a clock.

This sculpture focuses on the theme of “human interaction with nature.” It is based on an actual installation work where the artist held onto a tree for a period of time and imagined how it would affect the growth of the tree if he continued holding on much longer. He made a mold of his hand as well as the tree and cast the whole piece in bronze.

  • For the Garden by Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer is a conceptual artist who focuses on particular subjects using original or borrowed text. The subject she presents for our sculpture is the experience of nature. The piece consists of 23 poems borrowed from four centuries of Japanese poetry; they are hand-carved into boulders and placed throughout the Japanese Garden. The spacing is original to the poets but the use of all capitals is typical of Holzer’s work.

Here is one of the poems:






Five Main Concepts for Understanding The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden

More than four years in the making, the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is now open, welcoming a world of timeless tranquility. Kangei: Welcome. The journey begins…

We have put together these five main concepts for understanding the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden in order to help you further understand its basic components:

Concept 1

Our Japanese Garden is both traditional and innovative.

It is traditional because it includes traditional Japanese garden components: an entry gate, meandering paths and stepping stones, a variety of views, authentic Japanese architecture, evergreens, flowering trees, shrubs and other plants that will be maintained in specific ways, waterfalls and ponds, boulders, and textures and colors that have great sensory appeal. Equally important it is traditional because it is intentionally designed to be contemplative.  It is innovative because it includes carefully selected examples of Contemporary sculpture by international artists. The addition of Contemporary sculpture makes our Japanese Garden consistent with Meijer Gardens’ uniqueness in combining gardens and sculpture and carries the tradition of the Japanese Garden into the 21st century.

Fact Two

Our Japanese Garden is based on reverence for nature but is also an artfully manipulated environment.

Although this space looks very natural, much of the garden has been transformed by human design. Hills were created, a peninsula and islands were built and waterfalls were constructed. Thousands of boulders were brought to the site. Much of the natural vegetation was preserved, but hundreds of additional plants selected by Hoichi Kurisu were added. These include trees that have been cultivated and pruned for decades to look like mature trees, such as pines and those with curving trunks. Some trees have been planted to angle out over the water, which in time will replicate the growth observed in nature. The entire garden will need timely maintenance by seasonal pruning of trees and shrubs, and will continue to mature and evolve over the decades and even centuries.

Fact Three

Our Japanese Garden is the result of an intentional design that emphasizes the experience of space.

As a master garden designer, Hoichi Kurisu is renowned for his use of space. Here, he has thoughtfully transformed an expansive marsh and wooded valley into a spectacular Japanese Garden. The space now offers dramatic changes in elevation, includes both densely planted areas and broad open spaces, provides intimate areas for reflection as well as larger expanses across the main pond and contrasts the geometry of built structures with the organic qualities of nature. Central to Kurisu’s intention is a pathway that surrounds the Lena Meijer Pond which, depending on vantage point, can appear wide and vast, or divided or narrow. In the tradition of all great Japanese garden design, Kurisu heightens guests’ awareness of space in small but important ways—by forcing them to duck under branches purposely allowed to grow over a path, by luring them into intimate settings surrounded by trees or by letting them stand on a waterfall bridge to experience water rushing from above and cascading down below.

Fact Four

Our Japanese Garden was designed to be a sensory experience.

Our Japanese Garden was designed to be a sensory experience, enjoyable in all seasons. Moving along meandering paths of crushed stone, guests will come upon sights and sounds to engage them—niwaki (garden trees pruned to look like the essence of mature trees), colorful blossoms, textured boulders, rushing waterfalls. You will enjoy the scents of lilacs, irises and cherry trees, the texture of moss, the pattern of wood grain, beaches of pebbles and raked lines in the Zen-style Garden (sponsored by The Wege Foundation). You will encounter stunning views of distinctive Japanese architecture across water, down hills, around turns. And you will have the Viewing Hill (sponsored by Mike and Sue Jandernoa) as a visual anchor, with its densely planted spirea, featuring golden foliage and light pink blooms. Even in winter the sparkle of sun on snow and bare branches against the sky will produce moments to remember. This ingenious design that was carefully planned but feels so natural will produce a truly unforgettable experience.

Fact Five

Our Japanese Garden was designed to be a contemplative environment.

The Japanese Garden aesthetic emerged from centuries of Shinto and Buddhist thought which emphasized a reverence for nature and a contemplative lifestyle. There are many ways our Japanese Garden promotes this meditative approach. The paths meander and turn, coming upon new views unexpectedly. The view from the top of the Viewing Hill is panoramic, taking in large vistas of the Japanese Garden. There are several smaller, enclosed spaces perfect for private reflection, including three Faith Reflective Gardens. There is water that suggests power and water that suggests tranquility. There is the quiet oasis of the Zen-style Garden and the provocative Bonsai Garden (sponsored by Mark and Elizabeth Murray) with its plants trained to look timeworn. There is a Poet’s Path (sponsored by Harvey Lemmen), suggesting the long tradition of philosophical poems inspired by nature. And there are seven Contemporary sculptures by internationally-recognized artists that promote interesting and deep thought. Throughout the garden there are benches for reflection and contemplation.

While the Japanese Garden welcomes its first guests this month, it is important to note that it is neither complete nor will it ever be. Rather, this garden will continue to grow, mature and evolve over decades and perhaps even centuries, as others like it in Japan have. It is indeed a dream fulfilled and a journey that never ends. Welcome, the journey begins.

20 Remarkable Years, Unforgettable Moments – Part Four

In April, we marked the 20th anniversary of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The past 20 years have produced innumerable, remarkable moments. Here are five more of the most memorable moments in our 20-year history: Chihuly 2003 & 2010 Chihuly Exhibitions In 2003 Meijer Gardens hosted Chihuly at the Gardens, an indoor exhibition featuring spectacular glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. Chihuly returned to Meijer Gardens in 2010 with A New Eve, a monumental exhibition featuring 15 brand new installations  ̶ 13 outdoors and two indoors  ̶  scattered throughout the park. Over 680,000 people visited Meijer Gardens to view the exhibition. AnniversaryConcert August 7, 2010: 15th Anniversary Concert Lyle Lovett and his large band performed a sold out show in the Amphitheater Gardens and the evening concluded with a fireworks display in honor of Meijer Gardens’ 15th anniversary. Proceeds from the event supported the Meijer Gardens Annual Fund. FredMeijer November 2011: Fred Meijer’s Memorial Service On November 25, 2011, our dear friend Fred Meijer passed away at the age of 91. Over 3,500 people came to Meijer Gardens to pay their respects at his memorial service while hundreds of past and present Meijer employees shared their stories about Fred with his sons and grandchildren. Fred was buried at Meijer Gardens in the Michigan Farm Garden, a replica of his wife Lena’s childhood home. JapaneseGarden 2011-2015: The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden After Fred and his wife Lena expressed their love of Japanese gardens and inquired about adding one to Meijer Gardens in 2009, the concept of The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden was born. Planning and construction commenced in 2012 and now, three years later, the construction process is nearly complete. With great excitement we anticipate opening this beautiful garden to the public on June 13, 2015. 2015Beyond 2015 and Beyond: Building for the Future Meijer Gardens recently acquired several adjacent properties including 35 acres of land bordering Leonard Street. The properties will allow for expansion and growth in the long term, ensuring Meijer Gardens will be always new for generations to come.

The Meijer Gardens Gift Shop


The Meijer Garden’s Gift Shop

The DeVos Keeler Gift Shop offers unique, original and locally made gifts for all ages. Friendly and knowledgeable staff and volunteers are always on hand to make gift recommendations, and to create an enjoyable, personalized shopping experience. Complimentary gift wrapping services are also available. Have you discovered the DeVos Keeler Gift Shop yet?


What You Will Find

  • Artisan gifts of jewelry, pottery, hand-blown glass and more
  • Educational books, toys and baby items
  • Garden items including house plants, tools and supplies, garden art and gardening books
  • Greeting cards
  • Michigan-made gifts from local and regional artists
  • Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park souvenirs
  • Seasonal exhibition items like The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden items coming soon!

Save the Date: November 7, 2015

The Holiday Gift Show features more than 30 regional artists and vendors all offering unique art and elegant gifts for all ages and interests. From toys, games and books to delight the children on your list, to exquisite jewelry, culinary wares, books, music and gardening gear, you can find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Admission is free and the general public is welcome to attend. Members receive a ten percent discount when presenting their membership card. Be sure to check later this year for more information on the highly anticipated Holiday Gift Show.

Hours of Operation

The DeVos Keeler Gift Shop is open Sunday 11 am – 5 pm, Monday, and Wednesday through Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, and Tuesday 9 am – 9 pm. The Gift Shop is located adjacent to the front desk at Meijer Gardens and there is no admission to visit the Gift Shop.

If you are interested in learning more about the Gift Shop or its products, please call the shop at 616-957-7904, or email Chris Smith, Gift Shop Manager at

20 Remarkable Years, Unforgettable Moments – Part Three

On April 20, 2015, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park observed its 20th anniversary. The past 20 years have produced innumerable, remarkable moments. Here, we share five more of the most memorable moments in our 20-year history:


September 11, 2002: Jimmy Carter Visits On the first anniversary of September 11, former President Jimmy Carter toured the grounds with Fred Meijer. The serenity, beauty and welcoming atmosphere left former President Carter refreshed, encouraged and inspired; a stark contrast to the events of the prior year. Upon his departure, he called Meijer Gardens a “national treasure.”


May 17, 2003: Michigan’s Farm Garden Opens Michigan’s Farm Garden opens allowing visitors to experience heirloom vegetable gardens, orchards and farm animal sculptures in a whimsical barnyard setting. It includes a three-quarter-scale replica of Lena Meijer’s childhood home and a 100-year-old barn, and roses from Lena’s garden. Fred & Lena led the procession on a borrowed, vintage tractor.


June 6, 2003: Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater The Amphitheater Garden opens with a performance by Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy and on June 15 the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concert Series began with a performance by Art Garfunkel. It has since become the most anticipated summer concert series in West Michigan. The terraced lawn seating, spectacular views of gardens and sculptures, and lively acoustics create an intimate concert setting for guests of all ages. Children'sGarden

June 20, 2004: Lena Meijer Children’s Garden Children are invited and encouraged to play, learn and explore using all five senses making the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden one of the most interactive children’s gardens in the nation. Attendance increased more than 65% in the months following its opening  ̶ June through September  ̶  compared to the previous year. PresidentialVisits

Various Years: Presidential and First Lady Visits Several former presidents and first ladies have visited Meijer Gardens including President and Mrs. Ford, President and Mrs. Carter and Lady Bird Johnson, shown here with Fred and Lena Meijer.