Heart of Louisiana: City Park Sculpture Garden

Heart of Louisiana: City Park Sculpture Garden

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - If you think you might enjoy a leisurely walk through an outdoor garden of sculptures, the New Orleans Museum of Art has stepped up its game with a whole new section, including many new exhibitions to explore in City Park.

The winding paths, the shade of live oaks and world-class sculptures invite you to stroll, or simply spend time sitting on a bench, in no hurry to respond to life’s distractions.

Susan Taylor, the director of the New Orleans Museum of Art, said the sculpture garden has been loved for years, but their new additions take the park to a whole new level.

“We have always been ranked as one of the best gardens in the United States, and in the world. I think this adds luster to that reputation,” Taylor said.

NOMA has doubled the size of its sculpture garden and added 27 new pieces. And if you’ve never been, there is the wonder of discovery around each turn, as art and landscape merge.

“The sculpture was identified first, a site chosen and then, in some ways, the landscape was developed around it,” Taylor said.

There are even creative ways of getting across or through City Park’s lagoons.

“Our landscape architects, with our engineers, came up with this ingenious solution to create a walkway that actually goes through the water. That bridge does resemble the notion of the levees keeping the water out,” Taylor said.

A glass bridge and its curvy painted lines represent a meandering Mississippi River and the new sculptures add to an already impressive collection -- including a giant metal spider that seems to mimic the branches of an oak tree.

“It’s an iconic piece,” Taylor said of the spider. “And it has been an attraction and focal point for the gardens since it opened.”

The garden is named for Sidney and Walda Bestoff, a philanthropic husband and wife who made their fortune in the Katz and Besthoff Drug Stores. They have collected and donated most of the outdoor sculptures, but there’s more than just art on display in the garden. There’s also a grass covered amphitheater with a performance stage that extends over a park lagoon. Plus an indoor pavilion, with a mosaic from ceiling to floor, tracing the Mississippi River and all of its tributaries.

And, kids are fascinated by a maze of tall mirrors, a fast-moving running and a reflective bear.

“We’re hoping that it enlightens people and provides wonder and joy and stimulation for the visual,” Taylor said.

The sculptures are showcased in a wonderful park setting, where you probably won’t mind spending an hour or two, exploring art and nature. The garden is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer. For more information, go to their website: noma.org/sculpture-garden.

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