“The Orchid Thief” round table discussion to be hosted
The Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas, will host a round-table discussion Orchidelirium: Past and Present on the book “The Orchid Thief” on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. A panel will lead discussion, which will focus on the past and present of orchid collecting in the context of social and cultural history, art, economics, horticulture and protection of endangered species.
Admission to the program is free. The Museum will offer light refreshments during the program and will give door prizes. This event is organized in conjunction with Orchid Festival at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center that will take place from Oct. 1 through 8.
The panel will be moderated by Andy Coughlan, Editor of ISSUE arts magazine, exhibiting artist and Interim Director of Student Publications, Lamar University. The panelists include James Burnes, M.A. (History) candidate, Lamar University; Jason Duncan, B.A. (English), senior McNair Scholar, Lamar University; Holly Hanson, B.S. (Plant Science and Horticulture), Volunteer Coordinator/Tour Coordinator at Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center; Dr. Elena Ivanova, Chief Educator at the Stark Museum of Art; Michael Saar, Assistant Professor and Reference Librarian, Mary & John Gray Library, Lamar University; and Dr. Steven J. Zani, Associate Professor of English and Chair of English and Modern Languages at Lamar University. The panel will invite audience participation.
“The Orchid Thief,” a bestseller by Susan Orlean, is available for purchase at the Information Desk of the Stark Museum of Art. The questions for the discussion are posted on the Museum web site – www.starkmuseum.org.
In relation to the book discussion and Orchid Festival, the Stark Museum of Art is presenting a mini-exhibit Orchids from the Hunt. It features lithographs of exotic orchids in nineteenth-century botanical publications. Two of the three beautiful flowers showcased in the exhibit were discovered by nineteenth-century orchid hunter and publisher Jean Jules Linden and the third one was named after him.
“Linden also originally discovered the Ghost Orchid, the flower that is the subject of the pursuit in The Orchid Thief, and his name is mentioned several times,” commented Elena Ivanova, Chief Educator. “We are fortunate to have nineteenth-century Belgian periodical L’Illustration Horticole, which was published by Linden, in our collection. The word ‘orchidelirium’ was coined in the nineteenth century as a fitting name for the wide-spread obsession with collecting and cultivating orchids. Susan Orlean re-opened the case of “orchidelirium” in her fact-based story about contemporary events in Florida. The book recounts an amazing tale about people who will stop at nothing, including crime, to satisfy their obsession with orchids. The panel will provide insights into the book for those not familiar with it, but for greater participation, we encourage attendees to read the book and the discussion questions on our web site in advance.”
Located at 712 Green Avenue in Orange, Texas, the Stark Museum of Art is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free. Group tours are available by appointment. For more information, call 409-886-ARTS (2787) or visit www.starkmuseum.org/.