Outdoor Art in an Unexpected Location


The Bradley Sculpture Garden is a peaceful place to visit if you love art and you are in the Milwaukee area. The garden features 61 different sculptures from more than 40 artists. The garden is optn Monday through Saturday, and guided tours can be scheduled with a week's advance notice. The sculpture collection was started in 1928 when Harry Bradley purchased a farmhouse on 40 acres of land. He landscaped the area and developed in throughout the next decade. During the 1950's, following World War II, the Bradley's expanded their collection of art. They made their first donation to the Milwaukee Art Museum in 1951. Following Harry Bradley's death, his wife continued to collect art. In 1975, a wing in the Milwaukee Art Museum was opened in the family's honor and serves as the setting for the Bradley collection of art. Those familiar with the Milwaukee area undersand the impact the Bradley family had on Milwaukee's development.

The garden is an opportunity for art to blend manmade sculpture with the beauty of nature. This is a perfect reflection for Harry Bradley's life since he was an avid art colletor and enjoyed spending time developing his botanical garden. The sculptures are protected with thin layers of wax so it is safe for them to remain outdoors during the harsh Wisconsin weather. Visitors to the garden are asked not to touch the sculpture because handling reduces the effectiveness of the protective wax.

During the spring and summer months, the Bradley Sculpture Garden is the site of a variety of events and parties. During August the museum hosts the Bradley Sculpture Garden Party. The afternoon features fun, food, and entertainment for the entire family. Tickets are less than $15 and can be purchased at the gate or in advance for a discounted rate. The party features children's activities, live music, and delicious food including burgers, chicken, sandwiches, and salads. Guests are also invited to bring their own food so they can relax and enjoy a picnic in the park.

The sculpture garden is one of the lesser known spots in the city which means it is a great place to relax and enjoy an afternoon of sunshine. Since you have to make arrangements in advance for touring the garden, there are not too many times when the garden will be crowded and overwhelming. With the advance planning, you are assured a comfortable afernoon touring the garden without crowds and rowdy children. Best of all, the garden is located near the lake, making for an excellent venue to enjoy a cold glass of lemonade or crisp summer salad. Even those that do not harbor a burning passion for art will enjoy the blending of sculpture and nature in the garden. The surroundings are excellent for relaxation, romance, and education. Nearby are a variety of restaurants and other activities, so following your sculpture garden experience you can grab a bite to eat or enjoy a night on the town.

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