Located west of the Minnesota State Capitol, Western Sculpture Park features a two-acre neighborhood park. Galvanized by neighborhood concerns about a deteriorating playground and with a belief in its greater potential, the green space was transformed in 1998 by a coalition of the Fuller-Aurora Neighborhood Association, Public Art Saint Paul (PASP), and St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department. Originally known as Fuller Park, it was renamed to reflect its new purpose.
Seventeen sculptures, interspersed throughout, are organized around small plazas, surrounded by pine and deciduous trees. Choreographed movement through the relatively flat park is encouraged by overlapping walkway ellipses and strategically placed canopy trees that invite visitors to explore the individual works throughout the park. Minnesota-based artists and those from across the U.S. and abroad are represented. The centerpiece and largest sculpture, Grace á Toi, was created by famed artist Mark di Suvero, known for his large steel I-beam sculptures. Other artists include Alexander Liberman (“Above, Above”); Roger Cummings (“Writer’s Block”); sculptor and teacher Peter Morales (“Jaguar Bench”); architect Souliyahn Keobounpheng (“Aardvark Shed”); and Melvin Smith (“Walking Warrior/Spirit of Rondo”). Bianca Pettis designed the Birds at Play sculptures featured in the play space at the west end of the park.
PASP curates and maintains the sculpture collection and presents programs in the park. In addition to the changing artworks, which rotate periodically, new works are introduced, and longer-term work rotates out. The park serves as a site for activities and cultural events programmed by PASP and other community organizations.