St. Louisans are fortunate to be surrounded by dozens of public art pieces that can be enjoyed for free. During the month of March, we are highlighting some well-known pieces and some new favorites. There are countless pieces of incredible public art and we couldn’t include them all but stay tuned for future bracket challenges. Your votes on Instagram and Twitter during a friendly, bracket challenge crowned a 2021 Arts Madness winner.

You can learn more about the public art below and see where they’re located here.

If you visit the artwork, we would love to see your photos! Use the hashtag #KeepArtHappening and tag us on your favorite social media platform.

The Winner

Kinloch Basketball Courts feature an abstract mural titled created by artist William LaChance in 2017. The 20,000 square foot mural was created in partnership with Project Backboard, a nonprofit dedicated to creating art on basketball courts nationwide. The design was even featured in “Architectural Digest " as one of its 10 Best Designed Basketball Courts in the World. Learn more about the basketball courts and the process of painting the mural here.

When the courts were being painted in 2017, we had the opportunity to chat with LaChance and find out more about the nonprofit organization that helped make it possible, Project Backboard. Read that article here

All Arts Madness: Bracket Challenge Artwork

“Joe”, was commissioned by Emily Rauh Pulitzer as a permanent feature of the courtyard at Pulitzer Arts Foundation. It was created in the year 2000 by Richard Serra, and named in homage to the late Joseph Pulitzer Jr., who commissioned the artist’s first site-specific sculpture in 1970. Sitting more than 13 feet tall, the piece is made of weathering steel and conveys a sense of the organic. Learn more about “Joe” and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation’s collection here.

“Nijinski Hare” was created by Barry Flanagan in 1996 and is designed to be a playful interpretation of Vaslav Nijinsky, a world famous Russian ballet dancer. Previously the sculpture was across from Enterprise Center downtown at the corner of South 14th Street and Clark Avenue and moved to Arts Academy Plaza, a small park in the Grand Center Arts District in 2017. The bronze bunny sits at ten feet tall and is owned by the Gateway Foundation. Learn more about the sculpture here.  

The Hyde Park bus stop on the corner of Blair Avenue and Salisbury Street is home to the “Magic Carpet Mosaic”. The unique piece, made of porcelain floor tiles, was created by Hyde Park youth with artists Janey Sanders and Saaba Buddenhagen acting as facilitators and teachers. It was commissioned in 1999 by Arts in Transit. Learn more about “Magic Carpet Mosaic” here.

The Grand Avenue Water Tower located inside the roundabout at the intersection of 20th Street and Grand Avenue was completed in 1871 by George I. Barnett. The 154 feet high Corinthian-style column is owned by the City of St. Louis and is made of brick, stone and cast iron. Its function as a water tower ceased in 1912 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Learn more about the historic monument here.  

“The Awakening” was created by Jay Seward Johnson in 1980 and was first cast in an exhibit in Washington, D.C. This second casting was installed in 2009 is a permanent addition to the Chesterfield landscape. The aluminum sculpture is buried in the ground depicting a man arising out of the ground. Learn more about “The Awakening” here.

The Gateway Arch, a historical monument and now the home of a National Park, is one St. Louis’ great keystone markers. It was created beginning in February 1963 by Finnish American Eero Saarinen, and the construction was completed in October of 1965. Facing the great Mississippi River, the building was constructed with a combination of steel and concrete. The park offers a museum, tram ride to the top of the Arch and even helicopter tours. Learn more about the Gateway Arch here.

The “St. Louis Honey Bears” mural appears on the East-facing side of the Centene Center for the Arts, the Arts and Education Council’s arts incubator. The four bears were created by artist fnnch using stencils and spray paint in 2019. The mural stands 50 feet tall, and each bear depicted represents a different facet of St. Louis. Learn more about the “St. Louis Honey Bears” here.  

“Man on a Horse”, a bronze sculpture by Colombian artist Fernando Botero, sits on the corner of Wydown Boulevard and South Hanley Road. Created in 1999, the 11.5-foot-tall sculpture is one of several pieces owned the Gateway Foundation. In 1959, Botero won a Guggenheim prize at the V Biennial Exhibition of San Paulo. He has achieved international recognition for his paintings, drawings and sculpture. In 2012, he received the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center.  Learn more about “Man on a Horse” here.

“Butterflies” by Spanish artist Manolo Valdes sits outside of St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library. Owned by the Gateway Foundation, the sculpture was originally constructed in Madrid, Spain in 2015, and was installed at the Central Library in three separate pieces. At over 15 feet tall, it is also the second largest piece of the Gateway Foundation’s collection. To learn more about “Butterflies” here.  

“After Hours” was created by Catherine Magel and recently was relocated to Webster University’s campus. The sculpture for many years had been located at Grand Center in St. Louis, along with another of Magel’s sculptures called “Earth Rabbit. The unique statue is made of a steel armature with fiberglass and is coated with mosaic art depicting musicians. Learn more about “After Hours” and the move to Webster University here.

“This is Kiera and Julian Walking” is a unique digital LED sculpture within the CityGarden, an area that features two dozen works of modern and contemporary sculpture in a completely accessible setting. British artist Julian Opie created the six-foot piece in 2002. CityGarden is a partnership between the City of St. Louis, which owns the land, and the Gateway Foundation which provides the funding for design and construction, state-of-the-art lighting, ongoing maintenance and more. Learn more about “This is Kiera and Julian Walking” and CityGarden here.

“Turtle Playground” opened in 1996 and was created by Bob Cassilly, the founder of the City Museum. Made of concrete, these playful pieces include several turtle and turtle egg sculptures ranging from seven to forty feet in length. Although it is located on the south side of Interstate 64/US 40, the Playground is located in Forest Park and can be accessed by the Tamm Avenue overpass near the Saint Louis Zoo parking lot. Learn more about “Turtle Playground” here.  

“FM/6 Walking Jackman” was created by St. Louis native Ernest Trova as part of his Falling Man series. These works feature armless human figures, which he considered “man at his most imperfect”.  Trova’s work can be seen throughout St. Louis and is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Tate Gallery, among others. Learn more about “FM/6 Walking Jackman” here.

“Placebo”, created by Roxy Paine in 2004, sits in the Grace Taylor Broughton Sculpture Park outside of the Saint Louis Art Museum. The sculpture was commissioned by SLAM and is made completely of stainless steel, created by welding together standard industrial piping. Learn more about “Placebo” here.  

“Eye”, a unique round sculpture made of fiberglass, resin, oil paint, and steel, watches over Laumeier Sculpture Park. Founded in 1976, Laumeier is one of the first and largest dedicated sculpture parks in the country. Created in 2007 by Tony Tasset, modeled after his own eye, the sculpture is larger than life, with a 452-inch circumference. Learn more about “Eye” and Laumeier Sculpture Park here.

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