Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's Sculpture Garden

One of numerous outdoor sculptures across from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
One of numerous outdoor sculptures across from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Photos by E. Groves


Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

houses a number of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and mixed media works, but did you know there are numerous sculptures you can view for free right across the sidewalk in the Scottsdale Civic Plaza?

SMoCA's collection of garden sculptures runs the gamut, from abstract stone pieces to detailed, anthropomorphic figures. Perhaps the most well-known sculpture in the area is Robert Indiana's "Love," which we didn't take a photograph of because hordes of happy children were constantly climbing all over it while we were there.

But there are plenty of other (albeit less colorful) sculptures to see across the way from SmoCA. And if you visit on the first Sunday of the month through April 3, you can get not only a free, docent-led tour of the outdoor sculptures, but free admission to SmoCA as well, as part of their "Sunday A'Fair" outdoor concert and art series. 

Robert Winslow's "Freedom"
Robert Winslow's "Freedom"

​The grounds of the Scottsdale Civic Plaza are gorgeous, filled with colorful flower beds and fountains. Some of the sculptures sit in the middle of bodies of water, like Abbott Pattison's "Woman and Fish," a bronze sculpture depicting an upside-down woman trying to spear a fish. Other sculptures, like Robert Winslow's "Freedom," sit in shaded, grassy areas that people like to use for picnics.

There's some history in the sculptures, too, particularly the giant bronze statue of Herb Drinkwater, the late and former Scottsdale mayor who helped transform the area into a tourist and cultural hot spot. He's smiling with a bronze dog at his feet -- a motif relived daily by visitors to the plaza, many of whom bring their dogs.

​We could go on and on about the various works of art in this quaint, cozy park, but it's really something you need to see for yourself. Both SmoCA and the nearby sculpture garden are within walking distance of a variety of cafes and restaurants, including Orange Table, so it's easy to make a day out of your visit. Seeing the outdoor sculptures is totally free, and if you go the first Sunday of the month, you can get a free, informative tour of them -- so what are you waiting for?

The SMoCA sculpture garden is located near the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second Street. Call 480-874-4666 or visit for more information.

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