If you love gardening, you'll certain appreciate the landscaping at the Grounds for Sculpture. There are lots of beautifully designed gardens, copses, and water features many of which are play as backdrops for works of art and sculpture. The flowering trees, bushes and flowers really are exquisite -- I especially liked the water lilies, lotus, hydrangeas, elephant ears, weeping willow trees and weeping cedars.
While most of the sculpture art was distributed around the grounds of this outdoor museum, I found the art in the Domestic Arts Building exceptionally creative. About a half dozen fabulous pieces were all created with car tires!! Cut into pieces and shapes and then bent, layered or otherwise placed and formed into interesting shapes, these works of art are some of the most unusual art I've ever seen and I immediately liked most of them.
The art featured in the Domestic Arts Building changes periodically. Check the website for more information on current exhibits.
While in the Domestic Arts Building you can also enjoy a light meal, refreshment or drinks at the Peacock Cafe which is also located in this building. The cafe has unique and stylish metal furniture which gives a light and airy impression.
One of my favorite parts of this outdoor museum were the sculptures of animals and there were quite a few. These larger-than-life sculptures were distributed all around the grounds at places which seemed quite a fitting place for that particular animal. Unfortunately, I don't who who the artists were, but I really enjoyed their creations.
For those of us who as youngsters dreamed of having a "treehouse," complete with child-size furniture and places to eat, sleep, and hide away, you may feel a twinge of longing when you visit "The Gazebo." Perfectly placed overlooking a lily pond, and surrounded with greenery and weeping willow trees, "The Gazebo" brought back to me those childhood wishes.
The lower level of "The Gazebo" actually offers a very small, but delightful selection of refreshments in the warm weather seasons. It's particularly refreshing on a hot summer day to sit and enjoy an ice cream or water ices, or perhaps an ice cream sundae or float. Just want something cold to drink? Try their fresh-squeezed lemonade, soda, bottled water -- or something from the wine or beers offered. Then take your selection to one of the water-side tables or up to the 2nd level of "The Gazebo" to admire your surroundings with your treat.
If "The Gazebo's" 2nd level had a few more accoutrements, I could definitely live there! There are several other small structures on the grounds which with some imagination could be the small hideaway of your childhood dreams.
(Hours/Days: Saturday and Sunday: 12pm - 4pm
Open weather permitting, through October; Closed for Winter Season
Menu items (2011 prices):
Water Ice & Ice Cream - $2.50 - $3.50
Sundaes & Floats - $5.50
Cold Drinks & Water - $1.50 - $3.50
Wine & Beer - $4.00 - $7.00
One of the more interesting features of this outdoor art gallery was the number of life-like sculptures based on impressionist paintings. The "Grounds for Sculpture" certainly lends itself very well to these sculptures because the grounds are arranged so that each piece of sculpture is "framed" by the landscape; around each bend or curve in the path there are interesting little spots where you come upon these life-like sculptures unexpectedly and you might feel as though you're intruding on the characters!
All sculptures seem to depict scenes and characters leisurely enjoying summers in France at the turn of the century. These sculptures conveyed to me images of life during a less hurried and less stressful time as reflected by the character's activities. The facial expressions and body language of the characters feel quite real. If the "Grounds for Sculpture" could only add a time machine to transport you to the same era these characters would have existed in, it would be perfect!
The welcome center has maps of the grounds. I highly suggest you pick one up if you don't want to miss anything! Even with a map in hand there is a lot of ground to cover. We spent 4 hours at the museum and know that we did not see it all.
There are also some indoor displays, but a majority of the art is outdoors, so go when the weather is decent!