Nestled between the Arkansas River and the bustling core of downtown Little Rock lies of one of the city’s most overlooked artistic installations: the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden. Located in Riverfront Park, the sculpture garden currently houses more than 90 different works of art valued north of $4 million dollars.
Spread out over 33 acres of riverfront property, the garden’s sculptures range from the massive and abstract to the intimate and lifelike. Throughout the park, sculptures at the water’s edge offer dynamic vistas, each one framed by the flowing river and the rising spires of the Junction Bridge. A 5,600 square foot expansion was added in 2017 and features outdoor “rooms” formed from massive curved steel plates. Each “room” houses numerous sculptures, allowing for a more traditional art gallery experience outside, as visitors wander from installation to installation.
Many of the garden’s sculptures made their way to Little Rock via Sculpture in the River Market, an annual event that showcases hundreds of works by many of the nation’s top sculptors. Each year, a single piece is selected by committee to be added to the park, giving visitors reasons to keep coming back as the collection grows.
While the riverfront may be the beating heart of Little Rock’s public sculptures, it’s far from the only place to see public artworks in the capital city. Along south Main street, park benches take on an artistic flair leading to and away from Bernice Garden, a public park with numerous sculptures from local artists. Likewise, along west Little Rock’s Chenal Parkway, several large sculptures have been installed at traffic signals and roundabouts as the road courses its way into the Ozark foothills.