A true staple of beauty, Citygarden is an urban park and sculpture garden located in St. Louis, Missouri. Since opening on July 1, 2009, the 2.9-acre park has become a gorgeous supporter of public art. The park is funded by the St. Louis Gateway Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on increasing public art – also owning the statues placed throughout the land.
History of Citygarden
Citygarden’s mission at celebrating public art is a concept that is not at all new to the area, particularly to the Gateway Mall community in St. Louis. Created in the 1960s, Gateway Mall runs between Market Street and Chestnut Street and features notable work by artists such as Carl Milles and Richard Serra. Aside from Citygarden, the Gateway Mall section of town also includes Luther Ely Smith Square, the Old Courthouse, Kiener Plaza, Gateway One, the Civic Courts Building, the Civic Room, the Neighborhood Room and Terminus.
A plan for a sculpture garden was originally crafted in the 1990s by a group of St. Louis residents. It wasn’t until 2007, however, that the project was proposed and announced. Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, an architecture firm from Charlottesville, Virginia, won a contest sponsored by the St. Louis Gateway Foundation to submit designs for the project. Upon winning, the firm and foundation worked together to create the plan and propose it to the city’s Preservation Board in 2007. In April of 2008, development of Citygarden began. One year later in summer of 2009, it was officially opened to the public.
Sculptures in Citygarden
In total, there are 24 sculptures featured within Citygarden. They range from very large works of art, which are placed on wide lawns, to smaller spaces, which can be viewed in more private areas. Among the artists who contributed work to the garden are Fernand Léger, Keith Haring, Aristide Maillol, Laura Ford, Tony Smith, Jim Dine, Kan Yasuda, Bernar Venet, Mark di Suvero, Niki de Saint Phalle, Tom Otterness, Tom Claassen, Jack Youngerman, Ju Ming, Jean-Michel Folon, Mimmo Paladino, Jonathan Clarke, Donald Baechler and Martin Puryear.
Other Features of Citygarden
Aside from the sculptures, Citygarden is home to many more attractions. Six rain gardens are included in the park, as well as “spray plaza” for children and a 180-foot long pool with waterfall attached. Movies, baseball games and other works are often played on a 16 foot LED video screen placed in Citygarden.
Visitors to Citygarden may also take part in an audio tour that is made available by dialing into a special number on one’s personal phone. Narrated by over 20 different St. Louis residents, the audio tour gives a deeper look into Citygarden and the wonders it holds within.
Citygarden is also known for its beautiful nature views with Ginkgo biloba trees and native plants placed along its long sidewalks. When designing the park, architects split it into three different sections, mimicking the rivers and other natural characteristics of the surrounding St. Louis area. One section represents the Mississippi River bluffs, another section represents the St. Louis waterways and the third section, which encompasses the trees, rain gardens and sculptures, is made to represent a floodplain.
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