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Oklahoma artist brings back happy memories by bringing 500 metal butterflies to life

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- They chase the blooms of summer flowers; bees, beetles, ants, even bats, and butterflies.

Always butterflies.

"A friend of mine told me you call them a kaleidoscope of butterflies," says Oklahoma artist Christie Hackler.

She loves these winged insects above all others.

We found her putting nearly 500 of them all around the Myriad Gardens.

Each one is different, a products of steel, enamel, heat, and one more thing, her own pursuit of happiness.

"That moment," she describes, "where it's just pure awe and amazement over something that's just so simple in life."

These pictures come from the early fall of 1996 in central Oklahoma.

Monarch butterflies filled the sky and dripped from every branch of goldenrod.

Hackler remembers stopping her car and opening the windows so her young sons could see and almost touch them.

"They were just swarming around us," she recalls. "and my kids were just enamored with the sight."

Christie recalls that day so clearly because of what came after.

"My son Thomas was 6 at the time," says Hackler. "3 months later he died of meningitis."

For twenty years she hung to that memory as others faded, as the number of Monarchs dwindled too.

A year ago she began making these butterflies of her very own.

"That vision of those butterflies swarming, that kaleidoscope, just overtook me," she says, "and I thought, 'I'm going to make butterflies because they make me happy."

More than 200 of them will go on this wall.

Another 200 already fly around an adjacent room.

Another 100 flutter through the foliage inside the Crystal Bridge, a kaleidoscope to sweep the shadows away.

The Myriad Gardens Monarch Exhibit is hosting a sneak peek reception June 24th from 6 to 8PM.

The exhibit coincides with National Pollinators Week.

For more information on activities and events at the Myriad Gardens or about Christie Hackler go to