On May 15, the New Orleans Museum of Art opens the gates to the highly anticipated Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden expansion. Since breaking ground in December 2017, NOMA has continuously received an outpouring of enthusiastic support from our community. The endorsement of our project by the people of the city of New Orleans is particularly gratifying because the Besthoff Sculpture Garden is, after all, for them.
The 6.5-acre expansion builds on the success of the museum’s existing five-acre garden. The original garden, which opened in 2003, has long been recognized as one of the best in the world. The newly opened expansion features 27 new sculptures, including three commissioned works by women artists who have been inspired by local topography and landscape. The expansion further confirms the Besthoff Sculpture Garden’s place as one of the most significant sculpture gardens in the world. We could not be prouder to have realized this project for the city of New Orleans.
From the beginning of this effort, NOMA was committed to an environmentally sustainable approach. The expansion emphasizes and celebrates the distinctive character of the Louisiana landscape, while incorporating innovative architectural elements such as the first canal link bridge of its kind in the United States, an amphitheater and stage, and sculpture pavilion and an outdoor learning environment. These elements are entirely new to the museum, and we look forward to realizing their potential for our public. Our many outdoor festivals, film screenings, concerts, and performances throughout the year will only be enhanced by these new venues.
NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden owes its existence to its patrons, Sydney and Walda Besthoff. The Besthoffs have built an extraordinary legacy through their exceptional record of dedication to supporting New Orleans arts and culture. Mr. and Mrs. Besthoff’s leadership through every stage of the garden’s design and implementation is only eclipsed by their dream of create accessible ways for the public to enjoy art in a contemplative, idyllic, distinctly Louisiana environment. Since the original garden’s inception, they have stipulated that the space be free and open to the public every day.
Sydney and Walda Besthoff, along with the NOMA Board of Trustees and museum staff, view this breathtaking garden as a gift to the city of New Orleans. The $15 million project has been entirely privately funded at no cost to the New Orleans community. Through this undertaking, and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden as a whole, NOMA’s mission of sharing significant art and artists with the broadest possible public further advances our efforts to unite, inspire, and engage the New Orleans community with the wonder of sharing landscape and art as one distinctive experience. We invite you to visit your garden, and visit often.
Montine McDaniel Freeman director, New Orleans Museum of Art