Chris Park opened in 2005 to celebrate the life of Christopher Goldsbury, the son of late philanthropist and artist Linda Pace. The park features lush foliage, inviting walkways, areas of repose, sites of play and most significantly, encounters with art. Artist Teresita Fernández conceived the visual experiences throughout the park.
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Explore the beauty of the various plant species in Chris Park. Plants were carefully selected to create distinct spaces within the park. Exotic species are mixed with those from south Texas to create a unique and contemplative experience.
The Natchez Mock Orange is known for its multi-trunk, fountain like shape. This shrub blooms in the spring with pure white flowers, which often have a citrus fragrance and can grow up to ten feet tall.
The beautiful Hong Kong Orchid tree has a rounded and spreading canopy. The six-inch blossoms grow for a large portion of the year in pink and purple colors. Growing twenty to forty feet in height, the flowers are sterile and will not seed. There are two varieties of Hong Kong Orchid trees in the park — the native version is more of a shrub, with smaller flowers, while the non-native has a more substantial trunk, with larger leaves and flowers.
The Agave plant is a succulent primarily found in Mexico and the southwest United States. Chris Park offers multiple varieties of Agave for viewing. They consist of a large rosette of generally spiny leaves, which end in a sharp point. The leaves appear to come from the root. During flowering, a tall stem will grow and bear blooms. The many types of Agave vary in size.
Timber Bamboo is an effective and fast growing privacy screen, that also has great ornamental value. This semi-tropical clumping bamboo grows rapidly, and is one of the few large growing Asian bamboo varieties that works well in the Texas climate.
On April 10, 1997 Linda Pace lost her son, Christopher Goldsbury, to a drug overdose when he was twenty-five years old. Considering how art was their most joyful connection, Linda wrote in Dreaming Red, “For some time, I had thought about how to create or commission an artwork that would celebrate Chris’s life. What came to mind was an art park, a quiet place where people could come for reflection and for interaction with art.”
Teresita Fernández, a past Artpace resident, had developed a close relationship with Linda and it was ultimately decided that she would conceive of several unique visual experiences for the park which would serve as a living tribute to Linda’s late son. Teresita’s visual experiences in the park are intimate and serene ruminations on Chris’s life through three distinct experiences: the Starfield, Journal Benches and Wednesday’s Child.
Perhaps the most subtle of the visual experiences and only visible at night, the Starfield is embedded in the stone terrace just beyond the Wisteria threshold to the park. Every evening fifty-five tiny blue LED lights shine into the nighttime sky in a pattern resembling the constellations on the day of Chris’s birth.
Through out the park are quarried limestone benches inscribed with brief passages from Chris’s journals. While his life was marred by pain and addiction, Chris’s journals included notes on hopeful and joyous moments. “I got licked by a puppy.” “I kissed my grandmother.” It’s these notes of hope and happiness that made their way to the limestone benches.
Tucked behind the Timber Bamboo are seven illuminated jewel-toned glass pavers etched with a retelling of a popular nursery rhyme that brought Linda much pain after Chris’s death. She recalled, “My son, Chris, was born on a Wednesday…that sad, forlorn, and infuriating nursery rhyme – ‘Wednesday’s child is full of woe’ – played repeatedly in my mind.” In this visual experience, the days of the week are replaced with Wednesday, effectively connecting the memory of Chris to the other more positive personality attributes described in the nursery rhyme.
These visual experiences, commemorate the potential in everyday occurrences of unexpected joy and remind visitors that out of great pain and loss can emerge deep love and beauty.
“What is sure is that Chris’s death showed me that I possess a capacity for love I did not realize I have: My love for him goes on through eternity.”
Artist Teresita Fernández conceived visual experiences which commemorate the potential of everyday occurrences.
The Starfield shines tiny blue lights into the nighttime sky, replicating constellations on the day of Chris' birth.
Illuminated glass pavers become jeweled stepping stones into the garden as they retell a popular nursery rhyme. The days of the week have been replaced by Wednesday — the day Chris was born. Each disc carries a glimpse of a child's personality: fair of face, full of grace, full of woe, has far to go, loving and giving, works hard for a living, and fair and wise and good and gay.
Tumble Hill invites children, and those with an inner child, to roll down a raised berm of soft, inviting, St. Augustine grass.
Quarried journal benches, inscribed with brief passages from Chris' journal, offer areas of repose throughout the park.