NCMA's Museum Park

Oh, the public spaces you'll go. A school assignment. 

As much as I love fashion, I also love going out to new places—free is usually my motivation.  You’ll see through my Instagram that I scatter my outfit posts with my favorite places to go in Raleigh, North Carolina.   A lot of these include coffee shops and museums.  North Carolina is a very diverse place with many things to. It is also home to some exquisite architectural designed public spaces that deserve some spotlight.

One of my favorite public spaces in Raleigh is the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Greenway.  Or, as I like to call it, the “Art Park.” An appropriate name for a park that not only is available for people to bike, walk, picnic, but also to experienced outdoor art placed around the trails.  The Art Park is over 160 acres of natural forests and fields that connect to Umstead State Park and Schenck Forest, which makes the park almost endless.

How do I get there?

Found off of Blue Ridge Road, the Art Park is spread out wide behind the NCMA’s East and West Buildings.  To initially get here, one must take a car.  Although, you can argue that biking or walking is still doable, but not recommended with all the traffic.  You'll see the giant sign for the NCMA and a silver warehouse-type of building a.k.a West Building.  The Art Park is hard to miss on the right of it. The trail itself you can walk and/or ride your bike on.  Taking a map, you can go through the miles of trails and see the landmark of different arts. 

Architectural Pieces

The function of the Art Park is meant to be a greenway that incorporates different works of art.  From the “Forest for the Chairs” to the “Thyre”, most of these outdoor artworks incorporate different ideas to not only adapt to surroundings but also stand out. It enhances the experience of viewing art and the connection you feel with nature as opposed to how you feel when you enter the exhibited buildings.  This is the NCMA’s incorporation of architectural proportion to show bigger the greenway’s world is compared to the smaller human-sized exhibits.

One of those most notable art works in the Art Park is the Thyre (seen above), also known as the onion rings.  This particular art work is one that you'll see at the beginning of the trails and stand out from the green contrast. The Thyre contrasts both in the daylight and night time with illuminated lights.  There is a glowing affect that is given that guides night walkers’ paths.

 The artwork and natural woods create an architectural texture to show the difference between what we find in nature and what is unnatural to draw our eyes.  For instance, the art piece “Forest for the Chairs”(on the right) includes chairs in the trees to show a juxtaposition between natural wood and product of the wood.  This is one of my favorite pieces.  Much of the greenway in the beginning is fields of green but trees are strategically placed around to signal paths or in this case artwork.  It’s a subtle difference of texture among the trees, but there is obvious dissimilarity between how a tree and chair function. 

Combining the works of landscape architecture and the use of space, the Art Park allows people to enjoy the natural surrounding and how it elevates different works.  The trails and artwork are strategically placed so that people are able to follow along and find different pieces.  One unique piece is the “Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky.” This pieces utilizes the daylight to give you an inverted perspective of the sky and tree on to the floor.  It resembles more of a hobbit home at first glance, but is meant to show the world from a different view. Though, it is actually the perfect size for me. 

What can we do here?

As any kind of public space, the Art Park is meant for people to gather and allow them to communicate with each other but also use it in different ways.   Though, the sereneness of the park draws a more calming sorts of crowd.  You won’t find many who are yelling and running across the fields, unless you are my group of friends. The Art Park does restrictions of wandering off the trails and disturbing the uninhibited natural areas, which goes against the public space domain of being able to do whatever you want. Honestly, there are always concerns about anyone who starts doing pyrotechnics around a field of grass.  

Most people have an understanding that nature need not to be interrupted and do stay on the trails.  The Art Park is also is used as a prop and a background for people who come out to the Art Park to take photoshoots as well as go on dates.   I, myself have done a few shoots around here. It’s also a great place for friends to gather and throw a party.  Further into the trail, you’ll find people exploring the woods and taking mini-hikes. Being able to walk through trails and point out different artwork is a perk. There is also an outdoor amphitheater which lets you screen movies or have live performances.  The Art Park allows us to really use all 5 of our senses to get one with nature and art.