Nestled alongside the 600 Art Building is a patch of campus outfitted with a koi pond, walking paths, budding plants, and an array of sculptures that together create a tranquil refuge for all who visit.
The Lois Blonder Sculpture Garden is named in memory of Lois Blonder ’70A, ’73, an artist, avid art collector, and benefactor of the arts whose family donated pieces of her artwork and collection to Monmouth University after her death in 1999.
A Newark, New Jersey, native, Blonder entered Monmouth as a nontraditional student, and it was here that she pursued her studies and passion of becoming an artist while raising three children.
Quickly flourishing from an amateur to professional artist, Blonder created eclectic paintings, prints, and sculptures that won more than 50 awards. Her work was featured in numerous juried competitions and exhibited in private and corporate collections across the country.
In addition to fervently pursuing her craft, Blonder was passionate about collecting art. She and her husband, Isaac “Ike” Blonder, often spent weekends visiting yard sales from which they acquired more than 20,000 items—from paintings to teapots to Japanese netsuke, or miniature sculptures.
Blonder kept some of her favorite finds in a garden at her home in Morganville, New Jersey. Many of those pieces, along with some of Blonder’s own artwork and a plethora of her exotic plants, were moved to campus to populate the garden, which opened in 2000.
The garden’s array of plant life—complemented by a unique cast of sculpted characters, including a gargoyle, cows, and dinosaurs—continues to pay tribute to Blonder’s passion while offering visitors a welcome respite.