Updated Sptember 23, 2022. If you’re in need of a bit of culture, there’s nothing like a fall weekend drive to find public art, from organized gardens at museums, to sporadic installations, to city-commissioned projects that turn the utilitarian, everyday landscape into a much more creative experience.
Throughout NoVA and within a short driving distance, you’ll find a number of public art projects and sculpture gardens. Here are a few to consider as you plan for fall adventures.
There are sculptures throughout Fairfax that make up the city’s colorful tradition of injecting art into public life. Girl with Dog is a bronze sculpture in the garden at Old Town Square that’s Insta-famous. Peace Bird is a stainless steel tribute to a civic leader located in Van Dyck.
At the Sherwood Center, you can find the stainless steel, The Dancer, located in an outdoor gathering space. The Cyclist, also stainless steel, sits right outside City Hall. Fairfax’s latest sculpture is the Whimsical Treehouse in Ratcliffe Park. It was created by a chainsaw artist from the trunk of a dead sycamore tree.
The Hirshhorn Museum has an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art on display, and posts their artist conversations on YouTube, and you can check their website for upcoming talks. The Smithsonian is planning a revitalization to the existing sculpture gardens, and the sculpture garden is free to visitors. You can share the power of art on social media by tagging #Hirshhorn on your posts. Independence Ave. and 7th St., Washington, DC
The National Gallery of Art has a six-acre sculpture garden filled with pathways and fountains, and 21 modern and contemporary sculptures. Check out Pavilion Café for a surprisingly delicious lunch, and stay tuned for the announcement of the return of the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink in the coming weeks. 6th St. and Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC
The E. Claiborne and Lora Robbins Sculpture Garden in the Virginia Museum of Fine Art has a permanent collection and temporary exhibits in their sculpture garden with waterfalls, pathways, and elevated gardens and grounds. The three-and-a-half-acre grounds combines organic gardens with contemporary architecture, and the museum unveiled the Rumors of War sculpture by Kehinde Wiley in 2019. 200 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond
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