Sculpture Walk Springfield

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love when something fun and new comes unexpectedly into my awareness. Recently, scrolling through my feed on Facebook, my attention was caught by an announcement on a new-to-me page called Sculpture Walk Springfield.

Springfield, Missouri is an hour drive from my hometown of Joplin. I go there often on adventures, weekend get-aways and or just to enjoy a meal.

I felt excited about an art adventure in this charming and busy city. Reading for info, I realized this was a new installation in an ongoing exhibit that changes yearly.

On a beautiful spring day, Greg and I drove to Springfield to enjoy the Sculpture Walk and a wonderful lunch at a downtown restaurant. Check out some of my favorite sculptures from that trip.

Sculpture Walk Springfield title meme

What Is Sculpture Walk Springfield?

In 2013, Karen Schneider and Peg Carolla went to visit their respective daughters in two very different cities – Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Mexico City, Mexico – and returned with similar visions about what public art can do for a community. In Mexico City, Peg noticed giant cups painted by individual artists, lining a long boulevard. And in Sioux Falls, Karen took note of a program of changing sculptures in the town center.

Karen and Peg gathered a group of enthusiastic Springfield residents who carried the vision for such an art project in their own city.

Sculpture Walk Springfield launched in April 2015 with 13 sculptures installed throughout the downtown area. This year the 2022 exhibit showcases 41 sculptures…29 temporary ones that will change out next year and 12 permanent installations.

Vision, Mission and Purpose

Their vision: to create a museum without walls with access to all.

Their purpose: when placed outdoors, integrated in full public view with existing structures and landscapes, sculptures add to a city’s heritage, character, and sense of place and diversity; it adorns a city with distinction, adding to pride of place and a sense of identity. Public art rejuvenates public spaces by transforming them into destinations.  Sculpture Walk Springfield will play a major role in the economic rejuvenation of Springfield.

Their mission: to encourage the artistic transformation of Springfield through outdoor sculpture, thus enhancing our quality of life and promoting economic vitality.

Sculpture Walk Springfield downtown
Sculpture Walk Springfield – downtown street

Looking for Sculptures

You can visit the Facebook Page or the website HERE to download a map or you can park near Park Central Square in downtown Springfield and start walking. The sculptures are identified by a small plaque near each one, that lists the artist and a brief description of the inspiration for the art.

Park Central Square is a gorgeous place to call “home base” for the hunt. There is free parking available nearby and a variety of shops, restaurants, cafés and pubs in the area for a meal or a drink.

I downloaded a map onto my phone, in case we got “stuck”. However, the sculptures were not hard to find. It’s fun to stroll through the downtown area, enjoying the city and looking for these works of art. We located about half of the sculptures and saved the rest so we had another reason to return soon to Springfield.

The warm sunshiny day encouraged us to stop for lunch and lots of ice water at Civil Kitchen, located across from Park Central Square. This fun restaurant offers veggie choices such as their falafel and veg wrap and colossal onion rings. That wrap is amazing! I also enjoyed their flash fried kale.

Sculpture Walk Springfield civil kitchen
Sculpture Walk Springfield – good place for lunch, Civil Kitchen

Sculpture Walk Springfield Faves

Here are some of my favorite sculptures that we found on this first exploration. ALL of the sculptures are amazing though. You’ll want to find all of them.

Continuum

Artist: Nathan Pierce

Nathan believes that communication plays a fundamental role in our perceptions of the world we live in. His work deals with the conflicts of confinement and freedom and with exploring the catalyst between building or destroying communication. The relationship that his work has with the natural environment communicates with the viewer and helps activate the imagination and see the world differently.

(Pictured above in the Title Pin)

Call Now!

Artist: Mike Salisbury

Mike uses the abandoned payphone as a metaphor for connection and disconnection. His urban street sculpture invites interaction and reflects our culture in a time of change.

The juxtaposition of an outdated artifact surrounding a living tree causes the viewer to contemplate: “Is nature protected or imprisoned? Is this a triumph for the environment or a rite for our technology? Playful nostalgia or a worrisome premonition?”

You decide!

Sculpture Walk Springfield call now
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Call Now!

Guardian Creature

Artist: Derek Fitzpatrick

This playful sculpture is based off of a series of ceramic and metal sculptures that Derek made called creatures.

This one, the Guardian Creature, is meant to guard and protect people.

Sculpture Walk Springfield guardian creature
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Guardian Creature

Heart of the Matter

Artist: Larry Young

Larry drew inspiration from the EKG graph as it records the strength and timing of the heart’s activity. Especially in tough times, he says, we need our hearts to beat in strong, coordinated rhythm.

Two of Larry’s family members work in the health industry. He possesses a deep appreciation for what those in this field sacrifice and do to serve all in need.

Sculpture Walk Springfield heart of the matter
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Heart of the Matter

Say Cheese

Artist: Justin Deister

As a kid, did you hate for your food to touch, on your plate?

Justin says that’s where art began for him…managing food migration. His inspiration is the fun kids enjoy when they put cheese noodles on fork tines. It always makes him smile.

His sculpture makes me smile!

Sculpture Walk Springfield say cheese
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Say Cheese

Thinking of Solutions

Artist: Zachery Long

Zachery calls this sculpture a self portrait. He felt stuck on a problem. He is very solution oriented and found himself thinking on solutions in a robotic way. Processing ideas is how he hunts for solutions. This time, the solution was the process.

Sculpture Walk Springfield thinking of solutions
Sculpture Walk Springfield – Thinking of Solutions

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding

Artist: James Douglas Cox

James wanted to make this sculpture for more than 20 years. He says with the division between people in the US the worst he’s seen in his lifetime, he figured this was as good a time as any to create it.

In James’ favorite version of Nick Lowe’s song What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding Nick says:

“As I walk this wicked world  searching for light in the darkness of insanity, I ask myself is all hope lost, is there only pain, hatred and misery/ And each time I feel like this inside there’s one thing I want to know.

What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding? What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?

And as I walk on through troubled times, my spirit gets so down hearted sometimes. Sometimes, so where are the strong? And who are the trusting? And where is harmony, sweet harmony? Cause each time I feel it slipping away, it just makes me want to cry.

What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding? What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?

Sculpture Walk Springfield whats so funny
Sculpture Walk Springfield – What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding

Visit Springfield MO and the Sculpture Walk

If you live in the Springfield, Branson or Joplin areas or you are passing through, take time to stop and walk in downtown Springfield. Visit a couple of the sculptures…or hunt for all of them. These works of art make you think, make you smile, make you feel.

I thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon of strolling and looking, reading the plaques and thinking about the art.  Greg and I finished our time in Springfield with afternoon tea at Gilmore’s.

I’m so impressed and inspired by this Sculpture Walk. It’s a museum without walls indeed, on several different levels. And the hunt and find nature of it just adds to the experience.

I look forward to a return visit and discovering more sculptures tucked into downtown Springfield.

Sculpture Walk Springfield bunnies
These whimsical creatures are part of the What’s So Funny sculpture.

 

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8 Replies to “Sculpture Walk Springfield”

  1. A local city here in the N.E. has a similar event, using sculpture’s and art to attract downtown visitors. The sculpture walk in Springfield looks like it was worth the visit!

  2. I have never heard of a sculpture walk, but I have noticed more and more cities adding sculptures to their downtown areas. It’s great to hear Springfield has added a sculpture walk!

  3. We enjoy visiting new locations and walking the area to find local art. The Sculpture Walk in Springfield would be a walk we would enjoy. I like the “Call Now” with the Phone Booth.

  4. This is such a great idea! I love that each sculpture on the Sculpture Walk tells about the piece and the artist. I think every kid did the “Say Cheese” one with their mac and cheese! I know I did!

  5. Love this! Such unique works of are along Sculpture Walk Springfield. Especially love the mac and cheese on the fork. And cool how the founders were inspired to launch it.

  6. These Springfield sculptures are great! The walk would be a refreshing journey through the area.

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