Last year when we first got wind that The New York Botanical Garden was planning a Frida Kahlo exhibition we knew it was going to be big—but never imagined how big.
When we wrote about the show coming, a full year before it was scheduled to open, tens of thousands of people flooded our servers and shared our posts in excitement that this was happening and that it was happening in The Bronx.
Folks were leaving comments from around the country and the world that they were coming in to see this show and could not wait.
What we didn’t expect was that Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life, was going to shatter attendance records at The New York Botanical Garden—and not by just a few thousand but by a landslide of over 125,000 visitors before the end of its 6 month long journey on November 1st.
In 2012, the Monet exhibition drew about 373,000 visitors, which at the time was a record. Over 500,000 are expected by November 1st for Frida.
From the moment it opened back in May and we had the pleasure of hopping along on the media preview, we immediately saw how huge this was going to be simply because The New York Botanical Garden really went all out to create not just an exhibition but a truly immersive experience that was packed with programming from beginning to the end.
It wasn’t just about the Frida paintings and drawings that were coming to the garden nor the recreation of her famous Casa Azul inside the Enid A Haupt Conservatory but it was also the little things like the Cantina, the food trucks, or the big things like the live music and dancing by Mexico Beyond Mariachi, The Villalobos Brothers, Flor de Toloache, and Calpulli Danza Mexicana, or the poetry walks around the garden with poems by Octavio Paz.
Oh and let’s not forget about Frida Al Fresco Evenings where adults could enjoy the exhibition while listening to the music and enjoy a cocktail or two. Some of the evenings were even dedicated to the LGBT community bringing everyone to the garden from all walks of life.
One of the many highlights, at least one of my personal favorites and one I participated as a judge, was the Frida Look-Alike Contests where dozens entered to strut their inner Fridas and Diego Riveras on the red carpet.
Attendees to the garden really got into the spirit of things because even if they weren’t entering the contest, you would see them roaming about wearing flowers in their hair and emulating the famed, Mexican artist in some special way.
If you haven’t had the chance to catch the show, make sure you do so for there are only 17 days left as of tomorrow for this once in a lifetime experience and all in our own backyard.