One of the things I miss the most in moving away from Minneapolis is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, an extension of the Walker Art Center which fronts the park. I spent countless hours meandering the paths and checking out the sculptures, it was right in the middle of the city and happened to be the prefect place to take a date. Some of my favorites are still there like Frank Gehry's Standing Glass Fish in the conservatory or something called The Prophecy of the Ancients which has a mesh wire dome that sits atop Egyptian styled columns, within the mesh were random objects, a small scaled chair, a turtle, numbers and letters - the randomness of it all within the structure of the dome made for a contemplative visit. Sculptures don't remain there forever, though, one that's gone is the first Deborah Butterfield horse that I ever saw, alone in a little alcove off the main path - I was mesmerized. Now I live in a city where every time I go to PDX I'm greeted by several Deborah Butterfield horses under a "Welcome to Portland" sign. I still never tire of them, although I miss the fun of being able to touch them like I would in the Minneapolis Garden - oh, I almost forgot, being able to curl up close with that art was most definitely half the fun!
Why so sentimental? Seeing a recent post on the Design Sponge site on amazing outdoor art installations made me reminisce about the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and how much it impacted me in my teens and early twenties. Having an urban space that celebrated large scale art and allowed you to connect with the pieces like this garden did, it made clear what a visceral effect art has when allowed for public consumption and it validated the importance of design within a society and a community. It's a very special place, if you're ever in Minneapolis don't miss the chance to visit - it's even prettier under all that snow!