Laumeier Sculpture Park
|Laumeier Sculpture Park|
|Location||12580 Rott Road, Sunset Hills, Missouri, United States|
|Area||105 acres (0.42 km2)|
|Operated by||St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department|
|Visitors||Approximately 300,000 per year|
Laumeier Sculpture Park is a 105-acre open-air museum and sculpture park located in Sunset Hills, Missouri, near St. Louis and is maintained in partnership with St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department. It houses over 60 outdoor sculptures and features a 1.4-mile (2.3 km) walking trail, and educational programs. There is also an indoor gallery, an 1816 Tudor stone mansion, which was the former residence of Henry and Matilda Laumeier. Laumeier is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The park sees about 300,000 visitors each year and operates on a $1.5 million budget.
The park was founded in 1968 by a property grant in the will of Matilda C. Laumeier, and was originally intended as a memorial to her deceased husband, Henry H. Laumeier. The will gave their land and country house to the county, and specified that would be used for passive purposes (e.g., no sport fields). The park was 76 acres (0.31 km2) at its opening in 1975, but did not attract many visitors until a year later, when St. Louis sculptor Ernest Trova donated about 40 pieces of his work to the park. It soon became a popular tourist attraction, and received an additional 20 acres (0.081 km2) from the Friends of Laumeier. The additional land was mostly woods and is for site-specific sculptures, including the Old Orchard Swimming Pool, now also transformed into a large sculpture.
The founding executive director of the Sculpture Park was Dr. Beej Nierengarten-Smith, whose tenure lasted 22 years from October 1979 to May 2001. During these early years the park won 6 operating grants and 2 conservation grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, including a grant to create an informative video on the park and an architectural assessment of its buildings. The park also received 22 grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for exhibitions and sculpture commissions. An endowment fund was created, valued at 2 million dollars by 2000, and the park's operating fund increased from an initial $30,000 from St Louis County to over one million from combined resources. A variety of national and international sculptors were featured, including Terry Allen, Manuel Neri, Andy Goldsworthy, Judith Shea, and Joyce J. Scott. Fifty percent of featured artists were women. Nierengarten-Smith also created the Contemporary Arts and Crafts Fair for education revenue, the Winter Solstice Program Fire and Ice, the Sand Castle Festival, Safari Camp in the woods for children and parents, and numerous other festivals for diverse audiences, including children. A volunteer program for the park and its special events was also created. During the first 22 years, attendance rose from several hundred to 500,000 people, and the park twice received museum accreditation from the American Association of Museums.  
When Nierengarten-Smith retired in 2001, Glenn Gentele became executive director. In September 2009 when Gentele accepted a position at another museum, Marilu Knode came from Arizona State University, where she was head of research for Future Arts Research, to become the current executive director. Knode was the former head of research at Future Arts Research at Arizona State University.
The park has raised significant funds for improvements and a new fine arts center. Lawrence Scarpa of the firm Brooks + Scarpa Architects, which won the 2010 AIA Architecture Firm Award, initially designed the Adam Aronson Fine Art Center (named to honor an institutional founder member, long-term board member and major donor). Plans for this building were tabled and a less ambitious facility was constructed in 2015—designed by a regional architecture firm.
One of the park's best-known works, "The Way", was completed by Alexander Liberman in 1980. Constructed from eighteen salvaged steel oil tanks, the sculpture is 65 feet (20 m) tall, 102 feet (31 m) wide, and 100 feet (30 m) deep, and weighs 55 short tons (50 t). It is painted cadmium red. The park website describes the sculpture as a modernist work, "meant to represent the awe-inspiring impact of classical Greek temples and mammoth Gothic-style cathedrals" and modeled on post and lintel architecture.
"The Way" was composed on-site in a clearing later named "Way Field". The work was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and a donation by Alvin J. Siteman. In September 2011, it was restored by two workers using a hydraulic lift and 50 US gallons (190 litres) of paint.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch described it as "iconic", while another St. Louis newspaper, the Riverfront Times, described the sculpture as having become "a symbol of both the park and the city".
Other works by notable artists
- "Face of the Earth #3" (Vito Acconci, 1988)
- "La Libellule" (Arman, 1996)
- "Eclipse" (Charles Arnoldi, 1990)
- "Donut No. 3" (Fletcher Benton, 2002)
- "Java" (Anthony Caro, 1976)
- "Knots" (Cosimo Cavallaro, 1996)
- "Sugabus" (Robert Chambers, 2004)
- "Bombius" (Mark di Suvero, 1985–87)
- "Laumeier Project" (Jackie Ferrara, 1981)
- "Four Shades" (Ian Hamilton Finlay, 1994)
- "Crete" (Charles Ginnever, 1976–78)
- "Twins" (Joseph Havel, 2007)
- Ten plaques from "Living Series" (Jenny Holzer, 1980–82)
- "Untitled" (Donald Judd, 1984)
- "Intricate Wall" (Sol LeWitt, 2001–04)
- "Ball? Ball! Wall? Wall!" (Donald Lipski, 1994)
- "Not Without My Dog" (Tea Mäkipää, 2011)
- "Aurelia Roma" (Manuel Neri, 1994)
- "This area is under 23 hour video and audio surveillance" (Ahmet Ögüt, 2009)
- "Alpha" (Beverly Pepper, 1974)
- "Cromlech Glen" (Pepper, 1985–90)
- "House of the Minotaur" (Tony Rosenthal, 1980)
- "Leelinau" (Alison Saar, 1997)
- "Ricardo Cat" (Niki de Saint Phalle, 1999)
- "American Heartland Garden" (Judith Shea, 1992)
- "Public Goddess" (Shea, 1992)
- "St. Louis Bones" (Robert Stackhouse, 1987)
- "Flooded Chambers Maid" (Jessica Stockholder, 2009-10)
- "Eye" (Tony Tasset, 2007)
- "Falling Man" (Ernest Trova, 1969)
- "Gox No 3" (Trova, 1980)
- "Abstract Variation Lozanger No. 3" (Trova, 1980)
- "Untitled" (David von Schlegell, 1966)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Laumeier Sculpture Park.|
- "Man with Briefcase at #2968443". art-stl.com. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Jackson, Harry (April 22, 2009). "Trail of the Week: Laumeier Sculpture Park". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Keaggy, Diane Toroian (December 13, 2009). "New Laumeier director plans to bring new life to sculpture park". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- Nofziger, Fred (20 March 1988). "Laumeier Sculpture Park Is A 'Different' Place To Visit, Enjoy". Toledo Blade, p. E7.
- See, Ingram (22 March 1987). "St. Louis Sculpture Park". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- Bonetti, David (March 9, 2009). "Ernest Trova dies at age 82". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- Weber, Bruce (March 13, 2009). "Ernest Trova, 'Falling Man' Artist, Is Dead at 82". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- McCue, George (ed). “Laumeier Sculpture Park first decade, 1976-1986”. St Louis, MO: The Park, 1986.
- Nierengarten-Smith, Beej, McCue, George, Brown, Susan Mattseld. “Laumeier Sculpture Park second decade, 1987-1996”. St Louis, MO: Laumeier Sculpture Park and Museum, 1998.
- Manning, Margie (July 27, 2001). "Gentele named director of Laumeier Sculpture Park". American City Business Journals, Inc. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- Bonetti, David (July 13, 2009). "Laumeier Sculpture Park Appoints New Director". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- "The Way, 1972-80". Laumeier Sculpture Park. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- "Restoration of 'The Way' underway". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 27, 2011. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Keaggy, Diane Toroian (September 21, 2011). "Iconic Laumeier sculpture 'The Way' to be restored". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Silva, Eddie (January 19, 2000). "Queen Beej". The Riverfront Times. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- "On View". Laumeier Sculpture Park. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012.