Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia Commons
It seems wrong to call this Renzo Piano–designed complex a museum—it’s more like a “sculpture safari,” on which you get to experience the pieces in their intended habitat. Opened in 2003, the Nasher Sculpture Center is a two-acre homage to modern and contemporary sculpture that was founded upon the private collection of the late Raymond and Patsy Nasher, then grew to include new acquisitions and special exhibits on loan from other institutions. Wander the peaceful indoor and outdoor galleries and gardens to spot works by artists like Giacometti, Moore, Serra, Rodin, Picasso, Calder, and de Kooning; many of the larger pieces invite interaction. The lush setting and bold pieces create an idyllic backdrop for the center’s year-round calendar of events (which include movie nights and family-friendly fun)—and make it a top pick for weddings, too.
A Stroll in a Dallas Sculpture Garden
Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Edgar Degas—these giants of the modern and contemporary sculpture world are all represented in Dallas. Many of the masterpieces that comprise the Nasher Sculpture Center hail from the original collection of Raymond and Patsy Nasher. Now, the collection is internationally renowned, and it’s open to the public both in an enormous gallery space and an outdoor sculpture garden. Venture to the garden’s northern edge to see a specially commissioned work by artist James Turrell.
Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas Arts District
The Nasher Sculpture Center is one of my favorite places to relax and wander within Dallas. Stroll through the light-filled indoor galleries, containing sculpture collected by the Nasher family as well as rotating exhibits, before heading outside to the lush and shaded grounds with large sculptures and installations. Enjoy lunch at the Nasher Cafe by Wolfgang Puck and shop at the unique gift store. During the summer, the Nasher stays open until midnight on certain Fridays with live music, drinks, and picnics.
'Til Midnight at the Nasher Sculpure Center
The Dallas Arts District is booming. The summer ‘til Midnight at the Nasher’ event series is a great way to soak up this beautiful museum (at no cost- it’s a free monthly event). Doors open at six and you can lay claim to your preferred picnic spot in the grass by bringing a blanket or some chairs. Then wander around and soak up the current and permanent exhibits in this cool indoor and outdoor, creative space. You’ll find a DJ or other form of live music to start the evening and then the evening tends to conclude with an outdoor screening of a popular film. No outside food is allowed, but beverages and food can be had once you’re inside. If you’d like to pre-order a gourmet picnic from the kitchen of Wolfgang Puck, you can do so before the day of the event and then pick it up upon arrival.
Find Your Zen At The Nasher Sculpture Center
For an oasis of calm and inspiration in the heart of downtown Dallas, head to the Nasher on a Saturday or Sunday with your journal or a book and tuck away in the tiered gardens in the back of the property. Beneath the shade of the cypress trees you’ll be lulled by the sound of the babbling fountains at your feet.
More than 300 sculptural masterworks are on display at the Dallas Nasher Sculpture Center, located on a tranquil patch of land that was once a family farm—but is now in the heart of downtown. The regularly rotating collection of Raymond and Patsy Nasher includes work by artists like Matisse, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, Serra, de Kooning and more. Sculptures are on display both inside the 55,000-square-foot museum and outside in the sculpture garden designed by landscape architect Peter Walker. (The museum itself, by Renzo Piano, is noteworthy for, among other things, a ceiling that only lets in northern light.)