An Owl in Cherrywood Inspires Joy and Art
By Aaron Parsley
The most important work of art in town these days isn’t a painting or sculpture, but a transcendent slice of nature, thanks to the Blanton Museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art, Veronica Roberts. She first spotted an eastern screech owl perched in a tree in Cherrywood on New Year’s Day 2019. Since then, she has named the owl Olive and made a thorough study of his habits during frequent visits with friends and colleagues, lovingly documenting the journey through Instagram (@veronicactx). Quite a fan club has ensued.
In fact, Olive has become a sensation among Roberts’ circle. “This owl’s been visited by rather famous artists,” says Roberts. “Gallerists ask me about Olive.” Pals of Roberts’ began giving owl-related gifts. Olive fan art arrives in the mail. “I get an owl present from someone every week,” Roberts says. She now has enough figurines for a “parliament of owls.”
Followers have been mesmerized by the insider glimpse into the everyday life of the exotic creature as well as a spiritual component that cannot be denied. “These kinds of encounters with nature and wildlife help us understand how magical the natural world is, and that it’s in our midst,” Roberts says. Likewise, in her experience sharing the owl with guests, broken hearts have been soothed and friendships deepened. “The world is such a mess right now,” Roberts says. “People need this … We need beauty and a reminder that there are beautiful things in the world that we aren’t even aware of.”