Cullen Sculpture Garden in Houston

Photo of Cullen Sculpture Garden in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of Cullen Sculpture Garden in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz

Cullen Sculpture Garden
Official name:Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden

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Another peaceful sanctuary in the cacophony that is the Museum District. This sculpture garden is surrounded by concrete walls lined with earth that help keep outside noise at bay. When the garden was created, those walls enraged some people. Their heights – from eight to 14 feet – were seen as an attempt by the Museum of Fine Arts to keep art away from the public and retain control over a valuable piece of land. The garden actually got its start in 1973 when the City of Houston bought the land from the MFA for $750,000 then turned it back over to the museum for development. It wasn't until April, 1985 that construction actually began, and then only with a modified design that tries, but fails, to make the sculpture garden feel more available to the general public. Even in its completed form, many people don't know where it is, and some tourists give up trying to find the exhibit after circling the maze of streets near Hermann Park.

Quick Facts
    >1973 - City of Houston buys the land and turns it over to the Museum of Fine Arts.
    >1979 - Museum of Fine Arts chooses Isamu Noguchi to design the garden.
    >1983 - Houston City Council approves the plan for the garden.
    >1985 - City Council agrees to let the Museum of Fine Arts run the facility until 2015.
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