Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Laumeier Sculpture Park Expedition

Although I have driven by the sign on Interstate 44 near St. Louis dozens of times, it wasn't until my most recent trip to that lovely city, that I took the exit that leads to Laumeier Sculpture Park. I am really glad that I did, because it is a lovely place of 105 acres to explore and discover new vistas. The complex showcases the outdoor collection of over 72 sculptures, available to the public year round. Many of the sculptures are in wide-open spaces, like the one shown in this photo. Such locations provide a wonderful way for families or individuals to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. In fact , the stated mission of the Laumeier Sculpture Park, is to initiate a lifelong process of cultural awareness, enrich lives, and encourage creative thinking by actively engaging people in experiences of sculpture and nature, simultaneously. Plus, it had two things I especially liked: It is free of charge AND, you can take photos of the outdoor sculptures, as long as your photos are not for commercial purposes. I am sensitive to the photography issue, because one time I was scolded by a security guard in an outdoor sculpture garden in San Francisco, for taking a photograph of a Henry Moore sculpture on display. It seemed ridiculous to me, but I put away my camera for the San Francisco experience, so as not to be a troublemaker.

Besides the wide open spaces that Laumeier contains, it also has many wooded acres; there is a nature trail through the woods, that contains various types of sculptures along the trail. Two of these unusual sculptures are shown in this photo collage. I didn't get to walk the entire trail, as parts had been flooded out from heavy rains the previous night. Since Laumeier partners with the St. Louis County Parks in maintaining its grounds, work had already started to get the trails back in shape for visitors.

The upper left photo of this collage shows the original Laumeier house, made of cut stone. It now serves as the office, gift shop, rest rooms and art gallery that showcases various special exhibits they host. The exhibit that was on display when I was there were paintings showing how humans interact with their domesticated pets. This went along with a promotion currently going on called "Dog Days of Summer". The event includes a monthly "Yappy Hour" that included refreshments (for both dogs and humans), and a NEW, artist-created trail designed to be experienced from the dogs' perspective. And of course, there are dispensers throughout the park of the plastic sacks a dog owner needs to pick up any little "souvenirs" their dogs leave on the lovely grounds. Also, located on the grounds are picnic tables, park benches, and explanations of each piece of sculpture that one is looking at. Likewise, maps are available in the museum shop.

When I saw this sculpture of a giant eye peeking above the hillside, my mind immediately started humming the old gospel song that says "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me." (That verse is based on Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" ) I think it is very comforting to know that no matter what is going on in your life, you can be sure that the "Eye of God" is looking at you, and wanting the best for you. To plan your visit to the Laumeier Sculpture Park, log on to www.laumeier.org and for more FANTASTIC (and many free) things to do in that same area, visit www.explorestlouis.com . Miles of smiles!! Tricia

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