A Leesville gallery is looking back on 62 years of memories at the now permanently closed Hodges Gardens.
GALLERY ONE ElllEVEN filled with patrons Saturday evening for the opening reception of its “Remembering Hodges Gardens” exhibit.
After 62 years, Hodges Gardens has become a landscape of memories.
Hodges Gardens closed permanently in October 2017 due to budget woes. “Remembering Hodges Gardens” is an art exhibit which showcases artist’s interpretations and documentation of the botanical state park.
In addition to the artistic renditions, the exhibit showcased copies of the original blueprints for the gardens.
“Everyone had memories of this place. Everyone has been there, and we’re glad that we can at least help the public remember Hodges and what it meant to us,” photographer Tracie Smith said.
Smith is a gallery member and her work is on display in the exhibit.
“It’s not over yet, although if I’m being honest, looking at all of these pictures does make it feel a bit like a memorial,” she said. “But we still want to remain hopeful, and we are at least glad that we’ve created a place for people to share such incredible stories about their time in the Gardens.”
The exhibit brought in several people with their own stories to share. One such visitor had a very close relationship with the gardens themselves.
“When I see these pictures, see the state that the park was in and how it deteriorated over time, it just breaks my heart,” John Brown said. He worked closely with A.J. Hodges in the state park.
“I’ve walked along those banks and between those trees, and it’s sad to see those closed off from the public,” Brown said.
“Remembering Hodges Gardens” will be on display through July 13 at GALLERY ONE ElllEVEN, 111 South Third St. in Leesville. The gallery is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.