The first flying garden is a piece of public art, a five-foot fiberglass pelican painted from beak to britches in lotus flowers, Louisiana iris and lazy koi. Along with his 74 colorful brethren, each designed by a Gulf Coast region artist, my entry in the Art Takes Flight event hung for several months in a downtown location and will be auctioned off for charity on September 30. Here’s the concept drawing:

pelican-design.jpg

…And here is the finished sculpture:

pelicanphoto.jpg

Art Takes Flight is the most recent chapter in a wildly successful public arts fund-raising trend that began in 1999 when 300 Chicago artists were invited to paint lifesized fiberglass cows. They brought more than $4 million at auction, and last year city officials told CNN news that the sculptures provided a $200 million boost in tourism revenue. That kind of bottom line is bound to spawn imitators, and soon artists in dozens of cities were being invited to employ their artistic vision to paint critters ranging from dogs and pigs to donkeys and elephants. Fun!

The second flying garden is our own little planet, spinning through space with all of us along for the ride. It’s no secret that our cosmic garden needs a little tending, and here’s how you can help in a unique and meaningful way:

blogactionday.jpg 

Blog Action Day is October 15, a day when thousands of bloggers worldwide will unite their voices (keyboards?) to simultaneously write about a single issue — the environment. Already, nearly 4,000 of us have registered as participants. That list grows every day, and you can see it at www.blogactionday.org. The concept originated with Australian blogger Collis Ta’eed of www.freelanceswitch.com and is intended to be an annual event.