GSBF Clark Bonsai Collection
P.O. Box 5382
Fresno, CA 93755
GSBF Clark Bonsai Collection
in Shinzen Friendship Garden
at Woodward Park
Playing Favorites: An Exhibition of Staff-Chosen Bonsai
February 26 - June 26, 2022
Curator: Bob Hilvers
Since the opening of the Clark Bonsai Collection in Shinzen in 2015, we have changed exhibitions every few months to focus on 27 bonsai that illustrate a theme as a means of providing a context for some aspect of the art of bonsai. Some of the past featured themes have been Age, Size, Style, Selected Species, Seasonal Changes, Stylistic Trends, and more. The Playing Favorites Exhibition takes its inspiration from book stores and libraries that feature staff recommendations of favorite books. In our case, we have offered our volunteers the opportunity to pick one of their favorite bonsai and asked them to explain their reasons for their choice. There will be many diverse responses to the question, “What makes a bonsai ‘speak’ to you?”
When you visit the bonsai garden, you will find an information card on each pedestal with a picture of the volunteer and his/her reason for choosing the featured bonsai. Why a particular bonsai appeals to someone has about as many reasons as there are people, from the simple aesthetic appeal of the design, to its resemblance to some iconic or personally meaningful experience with trees in nature.
Garden Covid-19 Precautions
In keeping with the California and Fresno Covid-19 health mandates, visitors, staff and volunteers are required to wear masks and maintain a 6 foot distance while in Shinzen. Because this is a large outdoor venue, masks can be lowered when not in proximity to others, but must be replaced when others approach or when entering the bonsai garden because its enclosure and layout make social distancing difficult.
Clark Bonsai Staff
The Clark Bonsai Collection
When the world renowned Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture ceased operations, its impressive collection of bonsai was transferred to the Golden State Bonsai Federation. GSBF accepted this gift with the express intention of partnering with the Shinzen Friendship Gardens (SFG) to keep the Clark Bonsai Collection in Central California and honor the legacy of Bill and Libby Clark. That partnership resulted in the construction of an entirely new bonsai maintenance and exhibit facility in the beautiful Shinzen Japanese gardens. Serenely inviting pathways beckon visitors to stroll past waterfalls, over an iconic double moon bridge to be greeted by scores of resident koi and then on to the Clark Bonsai Collection. As visitors enter the bonsai exhibit they are instantly aware of being in a special place. They discover a hide and reveal garden that, at once, presents stunning examples of the art of bonsai and yet hints that more hidden beauty is only steps beyond a bend in the path.
In keeping with its museum heritage, the Clark Bonsai Collection is presented in “Themed Exhibitions” quarterly. These ever- changing presentations are designed to provide a new interpretive experience with the art of bonsai upon each visit. Bob Hilvers, who, along with Bill Clark, was a co-founder of the Clark Bonsai Collection and long-time Curator of Bonsai at the Clark Center, continues in the role of Curator of the GSBF Clark Bonsai Collection in Shinzen Friendship Gardens.
GSBF and the Shinzen Gardens invite you to visit and experience for yourself the beauty and wonders of bonsai and a North American Style Japanese Garden.
The Golden State Bonsai Federation’s Clark Bonsai Collection at Shinzen is a living museum encompassing the history of the art of bonsai in California and an educational center for the appreciation and practice of the art form.