University of Notre Dame
100 Moose Krause Circle
Notre Dame, IN 46556
The park is located between the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Compton Family Ice Arena, at the NE corner of Angela/Edison and Eddy St.
Phase two in 2017 added new features:
- a central valley and berms for the display of sculptures
- a great lawn for picnicking, playing Frisbee, playing catch, and lounging on the grass
- a natural stone amphitheater for concerts, theatrical performances, poetry readings, and tour group meetings
- additional lighted and paved pathways for walking, running, and bicycling
- more limestone seats
- 275 additional trees and over 1,000 shrubs
- a main entrance created at the corner of Angela Boulevard and Eddy Street
New sculptures include a Jaume Plensa sculpture that was recently acquired by Snite Museum Advisory Council members Bill and Julie Ballard, Fern Temple IV by Fr. Austin Collins, and construction of a commissioned, site-specific public sculptural pathway created by artist Philip Rickey. Rickey’s Life of Christ/Cycle of Life artwork creates Notre Dame’s newest sacred space.
For more information on the sculptures, please download the Reclaiming Our Nature brochure below (pdf).
In areas of the park beautiful indigenous grasses were re-planted, which will not require routine mowing, fertilization, watering, and treatment for insects and fungi. The “cost” associated with these virtues is that three to five years are required to establish indigenous grasses. Therefore, a temporary cover crop of annual rye was planted in August, to provide a root structure to control erosion. You will see erosion control mats and silt fences that have been installed to maintain the beautiful landscape contours designed by the landscape architect while the grasses establish their root system.
Noted American landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh immediately appreciated the site’s serendipitous qualities produced from past neglect. It enjoys rolling topography because it was once a landfill. Mature trees were likely planted to hide the dump and their lofty canopy is the result of aggressive pruning to clear unsightly underbrush. The water element controls runoff from acres of adjacent Stadium parking.
The fortuitous evolution of this Notre Dame site from historic disregard to present natural beauty suggested the overarching theme for both park and inaugural exhibition: Reclaiming Our Nature. This refers not only to sculptures selected to celebrate the natural environment, but also to others acquired to support humankind’s universal desire for spiritual transcendence.
An Arts District for Notre Dame
The Sculpture Park is part of a larger vision for this southern entrance to campus:
Creating an arts district. The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park are in place; the School of Architecture building is under construction just north of the Sculpture Park; the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art at Notre Dame will be constructed within the Sculpture Park; and the Department of Art, Art History, and Design will also one day be located within this arts district. Peer institutions, such as Stanford University, have created arts districts because they understand important cultural offerings are necessary to attract and retain the best students and faculty. They also understand that contemporary careers require creative thinking and visual literacy.
Creating a literal gateway to the local community. In addition to sharing arts resources with the local community, this sector of campus features parking, retail, hotel, and dining options found within Eddy Street Commons. The Compton Family Ice Arena has one rink dedicated to regional youth hockey. Innovation Center makes connections between Notre Dame researchers and regional entrepreneurs.
Creating a “greenbelt” at the southern campus entrance. Driving west on Angela Boulevard, one sees the meadow that circles the Compton Family Ice Arena, the natural landscape within the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park, the Irish Green lawn, tree-lined Notre Dame Avenue, and Cedar Grove Cemetery. This “greenbelt” creates a gracious, natural southern entrance to campus.
Creating a sacred space. The theme of the Sculpture Park exhibition is Reclaiming our Nature. This not only refers to creative transformation of an historic landfill to a wetlands and prairie, but also to the selection of some sculptures to express humankind’s universal desire for spiritual transcendence. For example, the Life of Christ/Cycle of Life sculpture pathway was created to encourage prayer, reflection, and meditation.