Sydney and Wanda Besthoff Sculpture Garden – New Orleans Museum of Art
Admission Fee: FREE
Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm
Open 7 days a week (closed on holidays)
Outside the New Orleans Museum of Art, you can find the 5 acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in a beautiful wooded setting. Located within City Park, this garden of art also contains a lagoon, sitting areas, a garden of irises, and moss-covered oak trees. Created in 2003, the sculpture garden contains 64 sculptures, most of them donated by the foundation created by Sydney and Walda Besthoff (cultural and business leaders of New Orleans for many decades).
We stumbled upon the area because my daughter saw a local’s guide to New Orleans, suggesting a visit to City Park and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Just driving through, to us the park was pleasant surprise! Once in the sculpture garden, I immediately became awestruck of the area, with the old trees, landscaped paths, and numerous, beautiful sculptures.
While crossing a bridge in the garden, a shining sculpture caught my eye. It’s entitled Karma and it’s a stainless steel sculpture by Do-Ho Suh. I found this art to be truly incredible! Men crouched atop other men, covering their eyes, decreasing in size until the top. I also love how the piece curves and resembles a human spine. I’m not usually a person that ooh’s and ahh’s over art, but this piece surprised me. More photos are below.
Pictured below is Window with Ladder – Too Late for Help, which was originally placed in an empty lot in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, an area destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. When it was located here, it conjured up a sense of fear, loss, and disaster. However, in the garden setting, it can appear to be a promise for escape.
Next, we saw a perplexing piece with a man hanging upside down by his ankles. According to the New Orleans Museum of Art, sculptor Alison Saar creates a powerful message about torture and abandonment. A fully dressed man hangs upside down and resembles a bell, complete with a chain on the back of the figure which is said to ring for victims of violence and terror.
Within the sculpture garden, winds extensions of Big Lake, just one of many bodies of water in City Park. Within the water, you can see an obelisk of cellos mounted one on top of the other. The sculptor Arman pays tribute to Spanish cellist and human rights activist Pablo Casal with his obelisk of cellos, pictured below.
The following are more photos of great sculptures as well as the sculpture garden itself.
Not only is the New Orleans Museum of Art and its sculpture garden in City Park, there also are tennis courts, a dog park, cafe, golf, amusement park, a running track, frisbee golf, playgrounds, botanical garden, bike and boat rentals, and so much more! Be sure to check out the parks collection of mature oak trees, some of which are older than 600 years!
So stop by for a visit to the Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park. Even if you aren’t the artsy type, it’s hard not to be enthralled by such a mature, wooded area, that’s nicely landscaped and very peaceful.
Many thanks to Noma.org for help naming, describing, and interpreting the art, since I was quite the distracted tourist while visiting.