Exploring Citygarden in Downtown St. Louis

Hello everyone,

June 30, 2009 - With a smile and simple call from his cell phone to the garden's control room, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay officially opened Citygarden, a lush urban oasis covering 2.9 acres in downtown St. Louis. "Gentlemen, it's time to start the fountains."

As state and local officials and guests applauded, pulsating jets of water began shooting up from 102 nozzles arranged in a grid on a bluestone plaza, 120 feet long by 36 feet wide, at the garden's western block. 

Bob and I were there to capture the magical moment for the culmination of 15 months of construction and an estimated $25 - $30 million in funding from the St. Louis-based Gateway Foundation. We visited the construction site many times for the St. Louis Front Page, shooting through the chainlink fence that surrounded two blocks between Eighth and Tenth and Chestnut and Market Streets. After it opened officially to the public, July 1, 2009, we returned often to photograph the sculptures, foliage and people enjoying the amenities.

Twenty kinds of trees, including shade and flowering species, as well as shrubs, exotic plants and lush flowers were specifically selected in part for their ability to put on a show year round. The Missouri Botanical Garden was consulted on the selection of the plantings, most of which are native to Missouri, and will be consulted on their maintenance.

The garden now features 27 pieces of large-scale modern and contemporary sculpture by nationally and internationally renowned artists. The sculptures show tremendous breadth - ranging from whimsical, tongue-in-cheek, and fun to somber and mysterious; from elegant, lyrical, and sensuous to geometrical and edgy and surprising; and from figurative and classical to abstract.

At the southeast corner of Citygarden, a massive bronze sculpture 'Eros Bendato' (Eros bound) by Igor Mitoraj, rests atop a titled granite disk, featuring a scrim of water. Aristide Maillol's renowned 'La Riviere' is sited in a calm, reflective pool near the restaurant building, located at northeast corner of the Citygarden. The western block features a whimsical 14' 7-1/2" painted bronze statue of Pinocchio, "Big White Gloves", "Big Four Wheels", by Jim Dine, near the bluestone plaza. 

I hope you enjoy our work and explore the collection spotlighting sculptures and architecture in St. Louis. Next time, I will add a few images and description of historical fountains.

Betty Moore
Photographer / Artist