Leaders from the Park Board and Walker Art Center broke ground on an overhaul of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden during a May 10 ceremony.
The $10 million project will completely rebuild the Sculpture Garden with more accessible walkways, a new bathroom building and meadow-like lawn to improve drainage.
The 11-acre Sculpture Garden, whose land and infrastructure are owned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, will reopen next June. Over the past year the Walker has removed nearly all of the 40 or so works in the Sculpture Garden, though some have been on display in Gold Medal Park, the Weisman Art Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
“The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the best public spaces in America and a prime example of the potential of innovative, collaborative partnerships,” said Park Board Superintendent Jayne Miller in a statement.
The Park Board is funding the work through $8.5 million of state bonding funds and $1.5 million from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization for stormwater management work.
The Walker announced earlier this year that it will add 16 new pieces to its redevelopment campus, including “Hahn/Cock,” a 15.5-foot-tall blue chicken sculpture, by German sculptor Katharina Fritsch and an iconic “LOVE” sculpture of the word by Robert Indiana. Due to construction, the Current moved Rock the Garden, its annual music festival at the Walker, to Boom Island in Northeast Minneapolis.
The Walker and the local arts community also mourned the loss of former Walker director Martin Friedman, who passed away May 9, at age 90. At the helm of the art center, Friedman developed the Sculpture Garden and commissioned its most iconic work, “Spoonbridge and Cherry.”
“As we celebrate the life and contribution of longtime Walker director Martin Friedman, the timing of this ground breaking is particularly poignant,” said Olga Viso, the Walker’s executive director. “We’re thrilled to open the next chapter of the Garden with new artworks by some of today’s most significant artists to be shared with the Twin Cities community and visitors from around the world.”