NEW ORLEANS, LA.-
In its effort to further unite, inspire, and engage the New Orleans community, the New Orleans Museum of Art
plans to break ground on an expansion of the renowned Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden this month. NOMAs initiative to expand the sculpture garden enables the museum to continue sharing significant art and artists with the broadest possible public. The anticipated completion in winter of 2018 signifies an important benchmark within a year of New Orleans tri-centennial celebrations. The sculpture garden expansion is privately funded, with sites for sculpture, as well as an outdoor amphitheatre and stage, pedestrian bridges and walkways, a new gallery, and an outdoor learning environment.
This significant undertaking reinforces NOMAs integral role in serving the diverse communities of New Orleans, said Susan Taylor, the Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. Like the beloved current sculpture garden, the expanded sculpture garden and new gallery will be free and open to the public seven days a week.
The diverse character of the vegetation and lagoon setting offers many opportunities for commissioned works, and for visitors to experience sculpture. Contemporary 21st century sculptures inspired by the space will be located in the open lawn, under tree canopies, across open water, on cypress islands, and within understory planting, all connected by pedestrian bridges designed to complement the landscape.
A new gallery will be located in the expanded sculpture garden, offering exhibition space for indoor sculpture and other works in NOMAs collection that complement the gardens installations.
Community and Programming
The expansion will enable NOMA to offer increased programming and learning environments for offerings like film screenings, theater productions, musical performances, events, tours, and city-wide festivals. An outdoor classroom at the north edge of the garden will provide a flexible and informal gathering space, offering opportunities for classes, special projects, and enrichment.
With environmental impact at the forefront of NOMAs planning, the sculpture garden expansion will emphasize the distinctive character of the Louisiana landscape. NOMA, in collaboration with Reed-Hilderbrand and Lee Ledbetter & Associates, has ensured that plans for the expansion incorporate vegetation indigenous to the region as a setting for the experience of sculpture and the performing arts. Hundreds of trees, palmettos, and shrubs will be added to the site, aligning with the historical fabric of the landscape.
The lagoon system, a central element of the sculpture garden expansion, is intended to perform vital functions for the larger park ecosystem. NOMA will maintain the health and resiliency of the landscape by employing the best water and soil management practices, and preserve the heritage live oaks and extend the adjacent live oak canopy through the garden. These state-of-the-art strategies set the bar for water quality improvements and re-oxygenation efforts throughout the park, while serving as a prototype for similar projects.
Set within New Orleans historic City Park, the expansion will include an additional six acres in City Park an area of land across Franklin D. Roosevelt Mall, bordered by Gulf Drive, Berkys Circle, E. Alferez Drive, and Collins Diboll Circle, adjacent to the New Orleans Museum of Art.