I recently spent several days in the Leelanau County of Michigan. I traveled with my friend and travel buddy, Charlotte, who is a sculptor. So on our way north we spent a day in Grand Rapids visiting the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Neither of us had heard of the park and we only found out about it by Googling places of interest in Michigan, so we had no expectations. But, WOW, were we pleased with our visit there!
Frederik Meijer inherited and expanded a chain of stores in the upper mid-west. The stores are a one stop for all, much like Walmart, with groceries, pharmacy, home goods, etc. Even gas stations. He also collected sculpture.
From the garden website: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened in April 1995 after 13 years of planning and fundraising by the West Michigan Horticultural Society. In 1990, Fred and Lena Meijer were asked for their support, and they embraced the concept of a major cultural attraction centering around horticulture and sculpture. The original vision has turned into a top cultural destination in the Midwest region, known internationally for the quality of the art and gardens.
On display are 300 permanent sculptures located both outdoors and in the conservatories. There are also temporary exhibits with work on loan. Charlotte and I strolled through the extensive gardens that spread over 158 beautifully maintained acres that includes lakes, ponds, streams and waterfalls along with specialty gardens such as wetlands, a large Japanese garden, children’s gardens, meadows, flowers, even vegetable gardens. They also have a huge outdoor amphitheater and are in the process of adding more.
And we viewed sculptures by world famous artists! Here are just a few.
Andy Goldworthy’s arch reminded me of a print I made recently, also a stone arch!
This HUGE bronze horse is 24 feet high. Look for Charlotte for a sense of scale.
We saw many, many more impressive sculptures including ones by Rodin, Degas, Miro, Calder, and Serra. It was a wonderful day! Here is Charlotte getting friendly with Fredrik Meijer and his wife.
Leelanau County, Michigan coming next.