On May 10 the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Walker Art Center and many local arts and parks supporters celebrated the beginning of a project that will revitalize the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and mourned the passing of former Walker Art Center Director Martin Friedman.
Friedman was a giant in the Minneapolis arts community. He spent nearly three decades at the helm of the Walker Art Center and was integral to the development of Sculpture Garden, including commissioning the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry . On his second day on the job in 1981, former MPRB Superintendent Tom Fisher received a call from Friedman. Soon after, the men met for lunch to discuss developing land near the Walker Art Center, and seven years later the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden opened to widespread acclaim.
The Sculpture Garden received more than 9 million visits since it opened in 1988, and major repairs to its failing infrastructure were necessary to revitalize the Minneapolis landmark for the next generation of park and art lovers. It will be completely rebuilt, reopening next summer with improved irrigation and drainage, wider, accessible walkways and a new accessible bathroom building.
“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 MPRB Superintendent Jayne Miller. “We’re incredibly grateful for the many people and organizations who came together to support this critical project,” added MPRB Commissioner Anita Tabb.
This project would not be possible without the generous funding provided by the State of Minnesota, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, and the Hennepin County Environmental Response Fund.
Earlier this year, the Walker Arts Center announced 16 new pieces of art will be installed in the Sculpture Garden and Walker campus by artists including Katharina Fritsch, Theaster Gates, Mark Manders, Eva Rothschild, Aaron Spangler, and Robert Indiana. The artists bring a range of diverse, global voices from seven different countries.
“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, Walker Art Center 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.”
Please visit www.minneapolisparks.org/sculpturegarden for more information on the the project and enter your email address into the box under “Subscribe to Email Updates” to stay informed on this issue.