NOMA to break ground on six-acre expansion of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is Home to 64 Sculptures by Renowned Artists from Around the World

NEW ORLEANS, LA – In its effort to further unite, inspire, and engage the New Orleans community, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) plans to break ground on an expansion of the renowned Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in December 2017. NOMA’s initiative to expand the sculpture garden enables the museum to continue sharing significant art and artists with the broadest possible public. The anticipated completion in winter of 2018 signifies an important benchmark within a year of New Orleans’ tricentennial celebrations. The sculpture garden expansion is privately funded, with sites for sculpture, as well as an outdoor amphitheatre and stage, pedestrian bridges and walkways, a new gallery, and an outdoor learning environment.

“This significant undertaking reinforces NOMA’s integral role in serving the diverse communities of New Orleans,” said Susan Taylor, the Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “Like the beloved current sculpture garden, the expanded sculpture garden and new gallery will be free and open to the public seven days a week.”


The diverse character of the vegetation and lagoon setting offers many opportunities for commissioned works, and for visitors to experience sculpture. Contemporary 21st century sculptures inspired by the space will be located in the open lawn, under tree canopies, across open water, on cypress islands, and within understory planting, all connected by pedestrian bridges designed to complement the landscape.

A new gallery will be located in the expanded sculpture garden, offering exhibition space for indoor sculpture and other works in NOMA’s collection that complement the garden’s installations.

Community and Programming

The expansion will enable NOMA to offer increased programming and learning environments for offerings like film screenings, theater productions, musical performances, events, tours, and city-wide festivals. An outdoor classroom at the north edge of the garden will provide a flexible and informal gathering space, offering opportunities for classes, special projects, and enrichment.


With environmental impact at the forefront of NOMA’s planning, the sculpture garden expansion will emphasize the distinctive character of the Louisiana landscape. NOMA, in collaboration with Reed-Hilderbrand and Lee Ledbetter & Associates, has ensured that plans for the expansion incorporate vegetation indigenous to the region as a setting for the experience of sculpture and the performing arts. Hundreds of trees, palmettos, and shrubs will be added to the site, aligning with the historical fabric of the landscape. The lagoon system, a central element of the sculpture garden expansion, is intended to perform vital functions for the larger park ecosystem. NOMA will maintain the health and resiliency of the landscape by employing the best water and soil management practices, and preserve the heritage live oaks and extend the adjacent live oak canopy through the garden. These state-of-the-art strategies set the bar for water quality improvements and re-oxygenation efforts throughout the park, while serving as a prototype for similar projects.


Set within New Orleans’ historic City Park, the expansion will include an additional six acres in City Park – an area of land across Franklin D. Roosevelt Mall, bordered by Gulf Drive, Berky’s Circle, E. Alferez Drive, and Collins Diboll Circle, adjacent to the New Orleans Museum of Art.

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Follow along with NOMA’s progress on Instagram at @noma1910

About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The New Orleans Museum of Art, founded in 1910 by Isaac Delgado, houses nearly 40,000 art objects encompassing 5,000 years of world art. Works from the permanent collection, along with continuously changing special exhibitions, are on view in the museum’s 46 galleries Fridays from 10 AM to 9 PM; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. NOMA offers docent-guided tours at 1 p.m. every Tuesday – Sunday. The adjoining Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features work by over 60 artists, including several of the 20th century’s master sculptors. The Sculpture Garden is open seven days a week: 9 AM to 6 PM. The New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden are fully accessible to handicapped visitors and wheelchairs are available from the front desk. For more information about NOMA, call (504) 658-4100 or visit Wednesdays are free admission days for Louisiana residents, courtesy of The Helis Foundation. Teenagers (ages 13-19) receive free admission every day through the end of the year, courtesy of The Helis Foundation.

Inquiries from members of the press should be made to Margaux Krane: 504.658.4106 |