I realized this week that it’s been a while since I wrote a public art post for Caterpickles, and that I really missed doing those. While watching the election returns out of Kentucky this past week, I found myself wondering what the public art looked like over there. That’s how I learned that Frankfort, KY boasts one of this nation’s most interesting and kid-friendly open-air public art collections.
Josephine Sculpture Garden in Frankfort, Kentucky
Title: Suspended in Water or Air, 2008
Artist: Emma McClellan
Location: Josephine Sculpture Garden, Frankfort, Kentucky
Photo Source: Photograph by Andrew Marsh, via Nashville Arts
The Josephine Sculpture Garden is a nonprofit sculpture park located on 26 acres of former farmland just outside of Frankfort, Kentucky. Free and open 365 days a year from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., this outdoor public art museum welcomes children and dogs alike to explore the 35 sculptures and murals housed across the property. Dotted around the landscape, you’ll also find a dozen interactive artworks for you and your family to explore.
Rather than maintain a standard permanent collection, the park’s founder, Melanie VanHouten, prefers to create a rotating collection made up of works loaned to her on a temporary basis from various artists. This approach gives her the flexibility to showcase a larger variety of work from local artists at all stages of their careers. According to the Josephine Sculpture Garden website, although the garden typically only has about three dozen staged artworks on site at any given time, more than 70 different artists have already exhibited samples of their work at the garden.
For those of you who want to pair your art viewing with a structured activity of some sort, Josephine Sculpture Garden hosts a variety of events during the year, including the STEAM Festival and International Sculpture day in April, the SoundScape music festival in June, and the Fall Arts Festival in September. The Garden also hosts guided nature tours, night sky tours, scavenger hunts, and a variety of workshops and classes year-round.
Want to see the Josephine Sculpture Garden yourself?
The Josephine Sculpture Garden is located at 3355 Lawrenceburg Road, Frankfort, KY 40601 (just off I-64 and Hwy 127 South).
Before you go, be sure to visit the garden’s website to browse their calendar of events and check out their current crop of scavenger hunts, interactive art projects, and other activities for kids.
Oh, and don’t forget the bug spray. You’ll need to wear good walking shoes too. One of the core missions of the Josephine Sculpture Garden is to preserve the natural Kentucky landscape. You will find lots of public art here, but the paths you’ll travel to view it will be mown, not paved.
- Large-Scale Sculptures Transform this Frankfort, KY Landscape into a Unique Art Experience (Nashville Arts)
- Josephine Sculpture Garden website
- What’s That, Mom?: How to use public art to engage your children with the world around them… without being an artist yourself by Shala Howell (Did you know I had a book about this? It’s full of tips for viewing public art with kids ages 3-10. This link takes you to Amazon, but it’s also available on IndieBound.)
- What’s That, Mom? (The Journal): Field Notes from your Encounters with Public Art out in the Wild by Shala Howell (A customized journal for viewing public art with kids. This link takes you to Amazon, but you can also find it on IndieBound.)