Art Garden

The Art Garden at WAM


Family ArtVenture event. 2022

The Wichita Art Museum is celebrating a fifth season of the Art Garden, which opened to the public in September 2015. Accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Art Garden has transformed the eight acres around the building into a lush oasis. Located in the heart of the city and alongside the Little Arkansas River, the Art Garden offers a breathtaking landscape environment.

With a terrain that reflects the place and plantings of Kansas, the roofless museum offers unique areas for peaceful retreat as well as animated gatherings. Lush plantings–more than 100 new trees, nearly 600 shrubs, and more than 20,000 perennials and grasses–with 13 outdoor sculptures gracing the garden meld art and nature, urban leisure, and aesthetic enjoyment.

The Kansas City design firm Confluence crafted a breathtaking environment for art and nature for the Art Garden. Plantings by Tree Top Nursery was completed with a landscaping plan calling for more than 80 species of trees, shrubs, and perennials. WAM acknowledges the important guidance from Jeff Van Sickle with GLMV Architecture and Bob Simpson and his strong team at Simpson Construction Services.

Admission to the Art Garden is free.

An award-winning Art Garden

WAM’s Art Garden was recognized with three significant awards in 2017:

The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce Keeper of the Plains Award:  The award celebrates an architectural achievement that enhances the landscape of Wichita. The requirements for this award include: aesthetic quality; improvement to the physical environment; visibility to the general public; and a well-maintained appearance. (See the Chamber’s Honors Night video below of the Art Garden.)

Wichita Arts Council Chris Cherches Award:  An award presented by the Design Council to honor excellence in public art. The award is in honor of Chris Cherches, Wichita’s city manager for 18 years, who was a strong advocate for the arts in this community.

Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Prairie Gateway Chapter: The award recognizes specific works of landscape architectural design with an emphasis on projects that exhibit a relationship to planning and a framework for larger than the immediate site. Judging criteria include the quality of the design, functionalism, relationship to context, environmental responsibility, and relevance to the profession, the public, and the environment.  

New sculpture commissions for Art Garden

  • Pulse Field by Derek Porter

    Derek Porter is a multi-disciplinary artist focused on the use of light within the built environment. Porter masterminded the lighting scheme for the Art Garden, and a new light installation, Pulse Field, which beautifully combines technological elements with natural forms. The long, aluminum light poles scattered across a newly created berm are topped with solar lights that gently turn on and off.

  • Wind Screens by Vicki Scuri

    Based in Seattle, the nationally important public artist Vicki Scuri was a contributor to the Confluence team, helping to design WAM’s new Art Garden. Scuri designed a trio of screens inspired by the Kansas winds. These Wind Screens rely on a gestural pattern of circles to reference wind sailing across the landscape.

Major Art Garden Donors

Aerial view of the Art Garden from the east side of the property looking west

Aerial view of the Paula and Barry Downing Amphitheater on the east side of the museum in the Art Garden

Art Garden Director’s Circle

  • Paula and Barry Downing
  • Martie and Keith Walker
  • Lattner Family Foundation
  • Friends of the Wichita Art Museum
  • Jayne Milburn
  • Judy Slawson
  • Tom and Myra Devlin
  • Mike and Dee Michaelis
  • Emprise Bank
  • Sondra M. Langel
  • Richard D. Smith
  • Jeff Kennedy and Patti Gorham
  • Steve and Jan Randle

Art Garden Benefactors

  • Mary Eves and Rigby Carey
  • Ann and Martin Bauer
  • Helen and Ed Healy
  • Mrs. Sarah Smith
  • Toni and Bud Gates
  • Bill and Mary Lynn Oliver
  • Scott and Carol Ritchie
  • Chris Shank and Anna Anderson
  • Sue and Kurt Watson

Art Garden Patrons

  • IBM Matching Grants Program
  • Becky and Todd Middleton
  • Stephen and Ann Starch
  • Trish Higgins
  • Donna Preston
  • Sonia Greteman and Chris Brunner
  • Marni Vliet Stone and David Stone
  • Dr. Christopher A. Moeller
  • Casey Voegeli
  • Mary Douglas Brown
  • Susan and Richard Skibba
  • Anita Jones
  • John and Cindy Carnahan
  • Ruthie and Jim Gillespie