Due to a heat index exceeding 90 degrees, the Millennium Trail and Elm Lick Trail will remain closed until further notice.

2023 – A Year of Arts in Nature Accomplishments

By Jenny Zeller

Before 2023 comes to a close, let’s celebrate the accomplishments of the artists that have played a significant role in fulfilling Bernheim’s mission of connecting people with nature.


Carla Rhodes worked tirelessly to get this story published by Feature Shoot, The Sierra Club, and The Guardian. We can’t thank her enough!

The year started strong in early January when 2022 Environmental Artist in Residence, Carla Rhodes, brought Bernheim and our pipeline story to the world through an exquisite body of work that highlights the animals, creatures, and habitat present at The Cedar Grove wildlife corridor, which is currently under threat by a proposed LG&E pipeline. (Click here for Bernheim LG&E Pipeline Update from Andrew Berry, Director of Conservation)

2023 Artist in Residence Sam Hensley with her fun animatronics at a Playcosystem Happy Hour event in September.

In February we shared the recipients of our 2023 Artist in Residence program, an internationally renowned program that annually awards artists the opportunity to live at Bernheim and create site specific work inspired by their total immersion experience in the natural environment. These artists were incorporated into annual programming and events, with new works created for Bernheim (and new works to come in 2024!)


Bernheim received a total of 120 submissions, coming to us from 21 countries and 23 different U.S. states, and 11 applications from Kentucky creatives.

In June we announced the launch of L+A+N+D (Landscape + Art + Nature + Design), an exciting, new initiative that annually celebrates innovative design concepts for immersive outdoor installations on a grand scale that will spark imaginations, conversations, and a deeper appreciation of the natural world. L+A+N+D is an opportunity to continue to elevate Bernheim through the arts, hear diverse voices and perspectives on nature and climate change, as well as excite the greater community.


Plastic by Definition by Albertus Gorman, Artist at Exit 0. A site-specific art assemblage created with colorful, river-collected plastic jugs and bottles.

This year’s CONNECT event around Lake Nevin was a huge success with over 20 art pieces on display, ranging from floating sculptures to beautiful portraits made from single use plastics. This year we extended the art experience of CONNECT into a month long exhibition, celebrating the work of our awesome regional artists!



ACRE is a perfect example of a project/experience that necessitates cross-departmental collaboration throughout the entire organization!

In October, the Bernheim team helped install ACRE by Anne Peabody, a living artwork addressing the organization’s history through a planting of 81 redbud trees, that delineate an acre boundary, in memory of the forest that was previously devastated by industry at an acre a day. ACRE is a long-term commitment that nearly four million people will experience over the next ten years alone. This visceral experience illustrating the organization’s legacy will be at the peak of its colorful display in time for 2029, the 100th anniversary of I. W. Bernheim’s visionary donation to the people of Kentucky. 

And there’s so much more on the horizon!



2024 is destined to be another great year as the Arts in Nature program will continue to be a driving force within the organization. We will celebrate the 44th anniversary of our Artist in Residence program, see ACRE bloom for the first-time next spring, and unveil ten L+A+N+D experiences to the public in summer of 2024.

These artists (and so many more!) inspire all of us to investigate, cultivate, and strengthen our relationship with nature and our environment. Thank you to all the artists that continue to inspire us at Bernheim and beyond and thank YOU for your continued support of the Arts in Nature program.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

Looking forward to seeing you at Bernheim in 2024!

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