6 amazing outdoor sculpture destinations in the South

  • Mary Caldwell
11:40 a.m. Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 Arts & Culture

Now that the popular interactive "Rockspinner" piece has been moved from Midtown, you may be inspired to find more outdoor art sculptures to enjoy outside of Atlanta.

The South is chock-full of such opportunities, ranging from an outdoor garden with over 1,400 sculptures to an iconic statue that symbolizes an entire city.

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Yokna Sculpture Trailseveral locations in Oxford, Mississipi 

Highlighting different areas of Oxford, the Yokna Sculpture Trail provides the perfect opportunity to explore the city. The trail makes a nice loop, starting at the Powerhouse Sculpture Garden and heading to Rebel Sculpture Park in the heart of the University of Mississippi's campus. Next up is Lamar Park, an outdoor arboretum, and the University Museum.

A collection of 15 to 20 large outdoor sculptures rotates annually, giving you a chance to return and see new pieces.

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens/For the AJC
You can do more than look at this glass bridge at the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail - it can be walked through.

Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville, Tennessee

Many of the 15 sculptures that wind through the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail were commissioned for their specific location to further enhance the relationship between each piece and its landscape. The trail is about a mile long and features works by regional, national and international artists.

A highlight of the trail is a glass bridge inspired by Italian glassblowers' efforts to create a bridge over Venice's Grand Canal over 500 years ago. They were unsuccessful, but you can walk through this modern-day, magical-looking bridge on the sculpture trail.

neworleanscitypark.com/For the AJC
Lin Emery's "Wave" sculpture was moved from in front of the New Orleans Museum of Art to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, City Park, 1 Palm Drive, New Orleans, Louisiana

Five acres of beautiful scenery, including lagoons, pedestrian bridges and 200-year-old live oaks, provide the perfect backdrop for over 60 outdoor sculptures. They represent work by international master sculptures of the 20th century as well as contemporary artists. Make sure to check out the "Wave" sculpture by Lin Emery, which moves with the slightest breeze.

You may want to spend the entire day at the park, which also houses the New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Orleans Botanical Garden and an antique wooden carousel.

Creative Arts Guild/For the AJC
"O Positive" by Chicago artist Michelle Goldstrom-Lanning is located in the Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden. It puts a modern spin on bronze casting to create the appearance of blood cells.

Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden, Creative Arts Guild main campus, 520 W. Waugh St., Dalton, Georgia

This outdoor sculpture garden houses 38 sculptures amid five acres of trees and flowers. Make sure to see "O Positive," which represents large-scale versions of blood cells, using board game pieces to create the texture.

Before you visit, stop in at the Creative Arts Guild to get a brochure about the museum. 

Brookgreen Gardens/For the AJC
Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, features over 1,400 sculptures in a gorgeous outdoor setting.

Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Garden Drive, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

Yet another reason to visit the beach: Brookgreen Gardens offers just that, since it's located just outside Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. One of the area's most popular attractions, Brookgreen Gardens features a comprehensive collection of works, including over 1,400 sculptures by 350 artists.

If you'd like to learn more, Brookgreen also offers lectures and workshops by sculptors-in-residence, as well as classes to help you create your own pieces.

Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau/For the AJC
Vulcan serves as a symbol for the city of Birmingham from his perch atop Red Mountain.

Vulcan Park & Museum, 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham, Alabama

The iron statue of Vulcan stands as an iconic symbol of the entire city of Birmingham. Located atop Red Mountain, the Vulcan looks out over Birmingham as he stands 56 feet tall and weighs 100,000 pounds. Vulcan is the Roman god of the forge, who made weapons and armor for all the gods. Pretty appropriate symbol of Birmingham's roots as an industrial city.

Upon a visit to the park's museum, one can learn more about the sculpture, the city's history and take a ride or walk up to the observation deck at the top of Vulcan's tower for a beautiful 360-degree view of the city.

A look at the 'Infinity Mirrors' exhibit ahead of it coming to the High Museum
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