Leo Politi Garden on campus wins two design awards

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Leo Politi Garden on campus wins two design awards

The Arne Nixon Center and Arne Nixon Center Advocates received their first award for the Leo Politi Garden, located on the east side of the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State.

The Landscape Design Commendation for Good Land Use award will be presented by California Garden Clubs, Inc. at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3 in the Politi Garden. The organization will also give the Award of Merit of Landscape Architect to the garden’s designer, Robert Boro.

Mary Castro, wife of Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro, will attend the ceremony. She said the garden is one of her favorite places on campus.

The Politi Garden honors the friendship between Fresno’s famous children’s illustrator and author, Leo Politi, and the late Professor Arne Nixon. Nixon taught children’s literature on campus for over 30 years. Politi, who was born in Fresno, lived most of his adult life in Los Angeles but returned many times to speak, draw and paint at workshops.

Boro designed the garden based on Politi’s art. “He never drew a straight line,” Boro said. The plants chosen are typical of Los Angeles home gardens like Politi’s. Because the garden is in a sheltered niche, it includes delicate plants that need extra protection in Fresno winters such as lilies, elephant ears, kumquat trees, baby tears and a tulip tree.

The garden also features two reproductions of Politi statues created by sculptor Lester Harries, as well as a grouping of colorful ceramic mosaic sidewalk tiles. The original tiles, created by Politi for his own front sidewalk, were unable to be relocated due to their age and condition. Ceramicist John Cook recreated the tiles that are embedded in the walkway near the garden’s fountain.

For more information, contact Jennifer Crow, curator of the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, at 559.278.8116 or jcrow@csufresno.edu.

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