Enjoy a walk in the park -- at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA).

In the grayest days of winter, the museum has turned its usually stark white and granite lobby into a verdant green space with islands of plants and lawn chairs. With art to preserve, the actual indoor temperature isn't any warmer than usual, but there's something about being surrounded by greenery -- even if it's plastic -- that makes you feel like you're in a balmy spot.

"It's a simulacrum of nature," said Alyn Silberstein, the MIA's in-house carpenter and artist who helped bring fellow artist Shawn McCann's vision to life with fiberglass, batting and felt, as well as mulch, which adds a whiff of actual nature.

"Seeing the kids come in and roll around makes me feel great," McCann said.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177