Four willing parents–Lori Fhima, Marcus Harcus, Pamela Johnson, and Shannon Steven–took time to reflect on a few of their most cherished memories of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
What’s a favorite moment you’ve had in the Garden?
Marcus: I brought my three-year-old daughter to Arty Pants last year and tried to walk her through some exhibitions, but she didn’t want to be inside, so we had a good time walking, running, and feeling the sunshine in the Garden. We also enjoyed walking over the poetry bridge (Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge by Siah Armajani).
Pamela: We played restaurant on Belvedere (by Jackie Ferrara). There’s even a drive-thru window for take-out orders!
Shannon: My favorite memory of the Garden was the magical realization that the horse (Woodrow, by Deborah Butterfield) is not actually wood but an amazing trompe l’oeil effect due to the patina treatment on the bronze.
Pamela: Seeing the Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform in the Garden during the 10th-anniversary celebration. Merce was there, seated near the stage under the shade of a parasol. Dancers in red, Mylar pillows, sun sun sun, a perfect spot on the grass. Unforgettable.
Your favorite sculpture?
Lori: Woodrow. A favorite to share with my children is Prophecy of the Ancients (by Brower Hatcher) as we lie back and look up into the dome and play I Spy, and then the game carries throughout the Garden.
Pamela: It ranges from Arikidea (by Mark di Suvero) to Hare on Bell (by Barry Flanagan) to Spoonbridge and Cherry (by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen) to Ampersand (by Martin Puryear) to Nautilus (by Charles Ginnever) to Standing Glass Fish (by Frank Gehry) to the Henry Moore piece, depending on the day. Or maybe I like too many of them to really have a favorite?
How often does your family visit the Garden?
Shannon: Several times a year through the warmer months, and sometimes we stop into the Cowles Conservatory in the colder months to check out the Sarah Sze sculptures and Frank Gehry’s fish (Standing Glass Fish) in the warm humidity. That is nice.
What were you doing 20 years ago?
Marcus: I was 9 years old and in elementary school.
Pamela: Before the Garden opened, while the site was still under construction, a couple friends and I snuck over to get a closer look at the Spoonbridge and Cherry. It was massive there in the night, in the dirt. It was so dark and quiet–we whispered, then we took off our shoes and ran.
Lori: 20 years ago! Yikes! Just graduated from college, living in Los Angeles and beginning to see the world!
Shannon: Twenty years ago I was just moving into my first apartment near Loring Park. As a young art major I was so glad to live up the street from the Walker!
What have you noticed has changed in the Garden in the last 20 years?
Shannon: The most significant change that I have noticed about the sculpture garden is the trees. When it was first open you could see into the other rooms’ but now there are distinct galleries formed by the growth of these tree walls.
How many times have you gotten your picture taken in front of the Spoonbridge and Cherry?
Lori: We’ve had at least 20-30 pictures in front of Spoonbridge and Cherry. We’ve also drawn a few!
Pamela: Have I ever been the subject of that photo? I’m always taking the pictures!
Marcus: Never have. Good idea.
Top: Marcus Harcus and his daughter Akili, photo by Gene Pittman
Bottom: Shannon Steven with sons Calvin and Everett, photo by Ashley Duffalo