Sculpture garden wows kids – big and small – in St Louis

Giant white rabbits and an invisible man clad in a lolly-pink suit were the last things I expected to see when wandering around downtown St Louis, in the USA’s state of Missouri.

I had stumbled upon Citygarden, two blocks of lush parkland set amongst office towers featuring 24 sculptures by internationally renowned artists, including Tom Claassen, Igor Mitoraj and Kan Yasuda.

The sculptures are thoughtfully dotted around a tranquil space filled with native Missouri trees, exotics, evergreen hedges, wildflowers and water features.

The big kid in me was drawn to the sculpture of Pinocchio by Jim Dine, while my former art student side appreciated the head titled “Eros Bandato” by Igor Mitoraj. His work also appears at the main entrance to the British Museum in London.

Aware that sculptures are tactile creations that we are drawn to touch and feel – I never see a public sculpture without a kid climbing on it –  the Gateway Foundation, which funded the Citygarden project, avoids “do not touch” signs.

Just a few blocks from St Louis’ famous Gateway Arch, the US $30 million Citygarden even features a lawn-covered mound for children to roll down.

The three-acre garden was designed to ensure that those with disabilities will find it easy to navigate. Citygarden is open all-year round, with the look of the garden evolving with the changing seasons.