Sculpture parks to explore

sculpture parks composite

By Julie Madsen

You want the arts and the culture that come with a museum, but it's finally getting nice out. Who wants to be cooped up inside in the springtime?

The solution: sculpture parks. You get your arts and culture, you get your fresh air, and hey -- you might just get some exercise while you're at it, too.

Here are a bunch of sculpture parks within a day trip of the Capital Region...

Columbia County

art omi arcs

OMI International Arts Center
1405 Co Rte 22, Ghent, NY 12075
OMI is pronounced "oh-my." Its Fields Sculpture Park includes an eclectic array of sculptures created by artists from all over the world. Follow the circular path passing by major works. Delve into the woods where there are many little treasures to seek out. In the upcoming weeks you may encounter baby ducks in the pond, butterflies, and wildflowers on this beautiful stretch of land. This is a large park so wear good walking shoes and plan for at least an hour to see everything.

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Taconic Sculpture Park
Stever Hill Rd off route 203 Spencertown, New York
Maybe you've seen the giant head while driving down the Taconic State Parkway and wondered... why? Well, let me answer your question. Taconic Sculpture Park is a wild, dreamlike, hidden gem of a sculpture park tucked away up on that hill. The works here are created by a single artist, Roy Kanwit. And he may very well come out of his home right there on the grounds to greet you. Many of the sculptures are made of marble and inspired by Greek and Roman mythological figures. When you come upon the aforementioned giant head, approximately 20 feet tall, you may notice a back door. Climb up and take in the view.

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Circle Museum
10985 Route 22, Austerlitz, NY
Some may see trash, but I see treasure. The Circle Museum is another small, yet densely-packed park with abstract sculptures created by one man, in this case Bijan Mahmoodi. The structures are complied mainly of scrap metal, giving it a bit of a junkyard feel, but look closer and you will undoubtedly see carefully crafted creativity at work. Some parts are rusty, some parts shiny, and almost all contain circles.

While you're out this way think about taking a hike! Nearby Harvey Mountain is 3.5-mile roundtrip hike and especially fun to visit during blueberry season. Beebe Hill is two-mile roundtrip hike and has a fire tower at the top.

Catskills

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Opus 40
50 Fite Rd, Saugerties, NY 12477
Different from the rest, Opus 40 is just one epic 6.5 acre sculpture designed by Harvey Fite. It's dubbed an "environmental sculpture" and it's made with indigenous bluestone quarried right from the grounds. On site there is a Quarryman's Museum which displays the historic tools and methodology used to create this masterpiece. Fite used an ancient Mayan dry-key technique, so there is no mortar holding the structure together. The curvaceous labyrinth takes you on subterranean paths 16 feet below ground where you feel a chill, up to the monolith three stories high where you feel awe.

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Emile Brunel Sculpture Garden
Intersection of Route 28 + Desilva Rd, Boiceville, NY 12412
A faded red sign at the Emile Brunel Sculpture Garden and Studio reads: "Statues erected and dedicated to the Great White Spirit and to the grandeurs and mysteries of nature." Emile Brunel was a French immigrant influenced by Native American art. His work, studio, and ashes rest in this small park, steeped in spirituality. Feel small walking among the 30-foot-tall sculptures looking skyward at totem poles and trees.

Just moments down the road is Steve Heller's Fabulous Furniture. Outside cars are turned into rocket ship, robot, dinosaur sculptures. Inside there is masterfully crafted furniture for purchase. 3930 NY-28, Boiceville, NY 12412M

Hudson Valley

Storm King Art Center Calder by Erik Anestad CC
Alexander Calder's Five Swords at Storm King Art Center. / photo: Erik Anestad via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Storm King Art Center
1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, NY 12553
You could dedicate hours wandering around the 500-acre Storm King Art Center not see all of the 100 sculptures along the miles of paths. Consider renting a bike to cover more ground. Throughout the rolling fields and forest are works of world-renowned modern sculptors. Some are larger than life, others take a keen eye to uncover.

Consider making a Storm King themed day visiting the nearby namesake mountain. The hike up Storm King Mountain yields incredible views of the Hudson Valley during a moderate 2.5 mile loop. (And if you're in the mood more art, Dia:Beacon is just across the river.)

Washington County

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Cary Hill Sculpture Park
19 Cary Ln, Salem, NY 12865
A newer park on the scene, Cary Hill Sculpture Park opened in 2005 at Salem Art Works, an art and community center. SAW supports both emerging and established sculptors, regional and international. The park covers more than 100 acres, with four miles of old logging trails and many impressive works of art. You may notice rustic remnants of its former life as a dairy farm. A hike up the hill gives phenomenal views of the surrounding rural landscape.

If you're hungry for lunch after all of that walking don't miss a visit to Steininger's family-run cafe and handmade chocolate shop. Entering the 150-year-old building feels like stepping back in time to your grandma's dining room. 191 S Main St, Salem, NY 12865
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Julie has got the travel-bug. Whether it's day trips, weekend getaways, or wandering around the world -- she's always up to something. Read more about her adventures at juliejourneys.com.

Earlier on AOA: Waterfalls to explore this spring

Comments

This is a great resource - thank you Julie!

Great list! But also note that Cary Sculpture Park in Salem (unlike most of these art parks) is fully equipped with fire pits, braziers and tables for picnics, hiking trails, and the best-anywhere views of the Green Mountains to the east. Spectacular venue and work!

I second Barold's comment. Great information.

I always wondered what that giant head on the Taconic was all about!

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