THE MINNEAPOLIS SCULTURE GARDEN
Located on eleven acres near the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the city’s most famous tourist destinations. The garden is operated by the Walker in conjunction with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.
The park board purchased the land at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time it was simply known as “The Parade,” a reference to the military drills that used to be held there. Over the years the land has played host to a cultural center, numerous formal garden incarnations, a U.S. National Guard armory, and fields for recreational sports. All of that changed though in 1988 when the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes and architects Quinnel and Rothschild, opened to the public.
The Spoonbridge and Cherry Fountain have come to symbolize not only
the Sculpture Garden, but the city of Minneapolis as well.
The garden currently houses 40 permanent installations as well as several temporary ones that change periodically, but the crowning piece in the garden is the spoonbridge and cherry fountain that was designed by the husband and wife team of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Bruggen. The spoon symbol is used in many of their sculptures, and this piece has become a visual trademark of Minneapolis. Additionally, the garden is home to a wide variety of sculptures including Frank Gehry’s Standing Glass Fish which is housed in the Cowles Conservatory, the 300-foot long Alene Grossman Memorial Arbor, and the impressive Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge, which spans eight lanes of traffic to connect the Sculpture Garden to near-by Loring Park.
The 300-foot long Alene Grossman Memorial Arbor.
In 2012 the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden gained more notoriety when Smashing Lists added it to their list of Top Ten Gardens in the World. The sculpture garden was the only U.S. garden to make the list and shared honors with such beauties as the Yuyuan Garden in China, the Butchart Gardens in Canada, and the Gardens of Versailles. Impressive company indeed.
Frank Gehry's Standing Glass Fish.
The Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge connects the Sculpture Garden and Loring Park.
The Sculpture Garden is one of the best known landmarks in Minneapolis, and speaks to our city’s support and commitment to the arts. The installations are first-rate, and are a treat not to be missed. Oh, and the garden has free admission which makes it even more awesome. If you’re looking for a great date location, or just a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, I highly recommend checking out the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
***Do you have a favorite outdoor sculpture area?