Sculpture Garden in City Park:  Showcase of World-Class Art and Sustainability

One of our favorite spots on The Great Delta Tours reopened June 1, 2020!  The Sidney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of  Art in City Park is one of the finest and most unique sculpture gardens in America with 90 works of art created by world-renowned  artists located in a stunningly beautiful Louisiana landscape.  It is a special place to celebrate the wonders of our Mississippi River Delta and how we are learning to live with water!

The sculpture garden site was expanded by fifty percent in 2019 with “water” as its central theme.   At the heart of the sculpture garden expansion is a revitalized lagoon with a series of bridges and walkways that wind among exquisite pieces of art that reflect the lush native plantings.  The 280 foot “Canal Link Bridge”, the first of its kind in the U.S., connects the new and the older section of the sculpture garden and immerses the visitor along the pathway for a unique sense of “walking through water”.  Nearby is the NOMA commissioned “Glass Bridge”, created by Elyn Zimmerman, 2018 – a colorful, 70-foot glass-like bridge that represents the different channels of the Mississippi River that were documented after the disastrous 1927 Flood.

The lagoon’s design is a model for innovative “best practices” in water management and the use of green infrastructure.  The pond was reshaped and its banks were stabilized to increase the storage capacity, improve the water quality and reduce the load on the municipal drainage system.  A dam-like weir was constructed to capture, clean and aerate water as a healthy sustainable resource that provides vital functions for the larger park ecosystem.  Finally, bioswales, that look like vegetated ditches, are also a feature of the garden that hold and filter rainwater, increase groundwater and reduce flooding.

All of this has been provided through the generosity of the Besthoffs whose vision is to provide a free, public space for residents and visitors to engage with contemporary art in a contemplative and sustainable, natural setting.  What an incredible gift and legacy for our community!

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