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  • Writer's pictureLisa

Land Art Part 2: A Gaggle of Awe-Inspiring Sculpture Gardens Stateside

Discovering Art Safiental, left me nostalgic for a similar but different site-specific art experience I attended in San Francisco in 2010. Presidio Habits was the first site-based art exhibition conceived for a national park.

An international group of artists, architects, and design specialists submitted habitat proposals for specific animal residents of the Presidio: a beautiful rugged forestland that looms on the edge of the City and Bay. From the 25 submissions received, 11 were selected as commission projects and installed inside the park.

I still remember the treks I took discovering the magic, art, and assorted critters nestled like hidden gems in the midst of the wilds of San Francisco.

The Swiss find also left me wanting to sleuth some of the US’s sculptural gardens, and commit to seeing more of them live and in person.

Here are some on my list to visit or return to:

DiRosa Center for the Arts

Napa, California

DiRosa is lovely. In beautiful Napa Valley, the center and grounds boast a wonderfully extensive collection of Bay Area artists’ work.

A quick stroll and overview of their sculpture garden is included in the daily admission, but a separate tour specifically of their outdoor collection is something I would highly recommend.

Reserve early, or call for last-minute cancellations. Due to the 2017 fires, the residence gallery (one of three exhibit spaces) is currently closed. Check the site for up to date information before you visit. Napa is 45 minutes from San Francisco / Oakland and these are the closest airports.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Seattle, Washington

Developed by Chihuly and Center Art and opened in 2012, the space is composed of a 1.5 acre garden, a 4,500 square foot Glasshouse and 8 Galleries that highlight Chihuly’s other-worldly vision.

Storm King Art Center

Cornwall, New York (Hudson Valley)

500 acres of hills, valley and woodlands, 100 permanent modern art pieces plus traveling exhibits, seasonal and special programs.

Located 90 minutes from NYC, accessible by train and public bus. Day bus packages are available from NYC’s Port Authority, as well.

Tippet Rise Art Center

Fishtail Montana

Midway between Billings and Bozeman, north of Yellowstone National Park. and set against the backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains, Tippet Rise sits on a 10,260 acre working sheep and cattle ranch, hosts classical chamber music recitals and exhibits large-scale, outdoor sculptures.

Laumeier Sculpture Park

St. Louis, Missouri

The largest Sculpture Park in the US

60 Pieces on 105 acres.

Kentuck Knob / Hagan House*

Chalk Hill, Pennsylvania

A national historical monument, Frank Lloyd Wright designed this residence when he was 86. It was one of his last projects.

30 Modern Sculptures are set in the Woodlands around the home. There are different tour options: the guided house tour includes the Woodland Walk Sculpture Gardens, a separate Woodland Walk ticket is also available.

Located 45 minutes from Pittsburg. Reservations highly recommended.

*If you are a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, Fallingwater is approximately 15-20 minutes away from Kentuck Knob. The Duncan House is about an hour away. To make reservations for both of these tours, contact Fallingwater at (724) 329-8501.

The Sculpture Collection at Brookgreen Gardens

Myrtle Beach South Carolina

Founded in 1931, by Archer Huntington and his noted sculpture wife Anne Hyatt Huntington, the Brookgreen Gardens was the first public sculpture garden in America. The space features a botanical garden and sculpture garden of American Figurative pieces. A community space, it offers concerts, events, and lectures focussing on art, nature and history.

Have a favorite sculpture garden in North America or Europe not listed here? Let me know and I'll add it to the list, Want to be a guest blogger and share some of your favorite cultural spaces locally or found in your travels? Wave hello. Thanks and happy trails :-)


Above from top: Two Disks, Alexander Calder, Tippet Rise Art Center; Winged Defence, Mark Dion with Natin Jayaswal; Western Screech Owl Habitats, Ai Weiwei; Dirosa; Chihuly Garden and Glasshouse; Mirror Fence, Alyson Shotz; Satellite #5: Pioneer, Stephen Talasnik; Free Hanging Chain, Sam Durant; Hagan House, Frank Lloyd Wright; Two Charred Menhirs, David Nash; Orpheaus and Eurydice (detail), Nathaniel Choate.

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