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1927 Map of the Arboretum

Current and Past Art Shows

Orange Night, oil on canvas, 18" x 24" Copyright Tony Apesos
Evening light on trees at edge of a pond in winter

Please note that all in-person exhibitions are suspended due to the closure of the Hunnewell Building and Visitor Center as part of Harvard University’s COVID-19 response. Exhibitions are currently online.

When our Visitor Center reopens, on site-exhibitions will resume and continue to be free and open to the public in the Hunnewell Building at 125 Arborway, Boston.

Artists interested in mounting solo exhibits in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall should review the exhibition guidelines [pdf]. Proposals may be submitted to arbweb@arnarb.harvard.edu with the subject heading “Exhibition Proposal.”


Current Shows

Pond covered by snow with background of trees
Rehder Pond, oil on canvas, 12″ x 16″ Copyright Tony Apesos

If Winter Comes…

The Promise of Each Year in the Paintings of Anthony Apesos

October 28, 2020-February 7, 2021

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Ode to the West Wind, Percy Bysshe Shelley

This is the optimistic question that closes Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind. If you love the New England seasons, as they extol the virtues of each month, we hope you can experience the Arnold Arboretum in person. Another wonderful experience is to view our Apesos online exhibition and revel in the nuance and attention he pays to his art, art that is alive and jubilant in its expression and astute rendering of the spirit within the season of winter, within the Arboretum’s collections, as they pare down to their beautiful bones.

Apesos returns to us with this show, after an exhibition of en plein air pieces in 2010. A decade later, it is his paintings that we are privileged to include online.

“The difference to me has to do with the seriousness of intention.”

Tony Apesos

Indeed, the new oils capture an insight that goes deeper that a quick sketch. They open our eyes to the changes winter brings to plants and places – the flat meadows, rocky slopes, ponds, or intimate copses of the Arnold Arboretum.

Enjoy the art, come enjoy the Arboretum. We remain open each day, providing visitors with solace and beauty.


The Art of Wood: Woodturner Virtual Exhibition

Natural edge wood bowl with finial
Cherry Boat, cherry, Copyright Joe Centorino

In 2015, the Arnold Arboretum hosted its first three-dimensional exhibition in the form of a comprehensive and splendid woodturning show: The Art of Wood: Woodturners at the Arnold Arboretum. Woodturning is unique in woodworking, in that a lathe is used. Joining this inaugural event were woodturning clubs from around New England—Association of Revolutionary Turners (ART), Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners, and Central New England Woodturners. With over a hundred examples of their work, both in the Hunnewell Lecture Hall exhibition space and the Visitor Center display cases, the week-end long exhibition was a wonderful addition to the Arboretum’s fall attractions and events. The turners gave visitors a chance to see how they did their craft with demonstrations on the lathe.

That first show was followed each October with exciting week-end displays, demonstrations, and new and return viewers. The original three clubs were subsequently joined by Harvard University’s woodturning club. And in all succeeding years, the Arboretum offered wood from deaccessioned trees to the turners, who in “turn” fashioned pieces from that wood to bring to the show.

Our current show features pieces from Massachusetts South Shore Woodturners.


Maya with Haiku
Maya (4yo) holding haiku Walking Stick: “Some may see a stick | But I see a walking stick | It helps me climb high”

Arboretum Haiku and You

Write a haiku and take a photo for an online exhibition.

Summer 2020

Take your own haiku hike in the outdoors, write a haiku about what you experience, and send it to the Arnold Arboretum to be a part of a special online exhibit! Haiku, a form of Japanese poetry, lends itself beautifully to the observation and recording of nature. Many haikus have a set form of three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the last line—but there is much room to explore and experiment! Check our Arboretum Haiku and You webpage for more information on writing haikus and guidelines for taking and submitting a photo of your haiku or your child’s haiku for our exhibit. Let’s share expressions about the natural world through photography and this wonderful and creative form of poetry.


Past Shows

Edge of pond with leaves
Decomposed Beauty, photograph by Bruce Wilson 17″ x 23″ Copyright 2020 Bruce Wilson

Urban Ponds: Essential Ecosystem for the Enjoyment and Discovery of Nature

Photography by Bruce Wilson

July 24 – October 24, 2020

Urban Ponds: Essential Ecosystems for the Enjoyment and Discovery of Nature brings the aesthetic and elemental properties of water, within the circumscribed arena of the city, to the Arnold Arboretum. Three ponds in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection, Faxon, Dawson, and Rehder, are alive with fauna and flora, beckoning visitors who relish a connection to nature and water in an urban community.

An integral component of the Arboretum’s ecosystem and landscape, these ponds (as well as in an urban pond in Newton)—named for former Arboretum staff—entice Wilson to bring his artistic eye to the discovery of shadows, reflections, and visitor enjoyment.

For an insight into Wilson’s show, see our online interview–Pond/Life: Reflections on Urban Ponds.


Print with ginkgo leaves in orange black, gray
East/West 4
Arlene Bandes
24” x 22” Monotype Collage
Copyright 2020 Arlene Bandes

Inspired by Nature: Five Printmakers at the Arnold Arboretum

Bandes, Goldberg, Maisel, McGregor-Radin, Smalley

Spring – Summer 2020

For five printmakers, sketching trips to the Arnold Arboretum solidified what they already had in common—the many ways that nature and plant life informs their art. Although their media covers a wide range of print techniques, and each artist has a unique approach to their art, all are attracted to the natural world, often trees. From white line woodcut to monotype, a keen sensibility of botanical life emerges that is portrayed through the eye and craft of these artists.

See Printmaking Demos and Talk with three or our artists on the Arnold Arboretum’s YouTube channel.


Tree and small arched bridge
Yew, Photograph by Lawrence Mullings

The Path Taken: Photographs of the Arnold Arboretum by Lawrence Mullings

Winter – Spring 2020

Photographer Lawrence Mullings ventured off the paths, literally and figuratively, from the traditional format for Arnold Arboretum art exhibitions, and we are venturing off the traditional path with this virtual art exhibition of his work.

Mullings’ exploration of off-road paths, steps, and bridges brings a unique and articulate view that is to be relished. Follow his route and take this journey with him. Mullings ventures where our visitors go, be they a painter capturing cherry blossoms en plein air, or girls with pink flounced dresses waiting to dance out onto the Leventritt Shrub and Garden.