How To Do ‘Sculpture Milwaukee’ With Kids (2022)

Sculpture Milwaukee brings world class art to Milwaukee again this year downtown, many along Wisconsin Avenue. Some sculptures from previous years are still on display, and this year’s collection features 7 new sculptures that use a range of materials and come from divergent backgrounds.

This year’s exhibition is called “Nature Doesn’t Know About Us”, curated by Ugo Rondinone. It runs from Summer 2022 to Fall of 2023.

The exhibition is completely outdoors and open 24/7.

Is It Kid-Friendly?

It can be! Wisconsin Avenue is a high-traffic area, and some sculptures are easier to navigate with kids in tow. To help families, MKE With Kids has identified an easy, short route to navigate Sculpture Milwaukee with kids, avoiding the high traffic areas.

To follow this route, park near O’Donnell Park and find The Calling sculpture (the big orange guy also known as “The Calling”).


Part 1: O’Donnell Park

Sculpture 1: “The Calling” (Mark di Suvero, 1982)

929 E. Wisconsin Ave., O’Donnell Park

Although not part of the official Sculpture Milwaukee exhibition, di Suvero’s sculpture, “The Calling” is still worth a visit. The orange-red, 40 feet tall steel statue is impossible to miss, and it resembles a rising sun. You’ll find it in O’Donnell Park.

Sculpture 2: Holiday Home (Richard Woods, 2019)

929 E. Wisconsin Ave., O’Donnell Park

From “The Calling”, head over to the quaint and cheery “Holiday Home”, also located in O’Donnell Park. British artist Richard Woods created the sculpture as a commentary on recent political and economic upheavals like Brexit. Home can symbolize success and stabilities, but when the home is placed in unusual places, like in the middle of a downtown park, it reminds us of instability and dangers in the world.


Sculpture #3: Spiky Column Green, Red and Blue

929 E. Wisconsin Ave., O’Donnell Park

Three shiny columns in primary colors stand in O’Donnell Park overlooking the art museum and perfectly aligned with the wings of the Calatrava. Artist Ned Smyth created them cast concrete and glass mosaic, which helped them catch the sunlight off of Lake Michigan.


Sculpture 4: Sky/Stairs #2

Stairs leading up to O’Donnell Park, downtown Milwaukee

This vinyl installation by Geoffrey Hendricks makes the stairs leading up to O’Donnell Park much more whimsical. It turns them into a bright blue sky with puffy clouds dotting the way.


Part 2: Northwestern Mutual Building

Sculpture #5: Pyramid (Monument)

Outside Northwestern Mutual Building facing Wisconsin Ave.

When you’re finished exploring the sculptures and stairs in O’Donnell Park, head west on Wisconsin Avenue until you find “Pyramid: Monument”. The pyramid is made from branches on a metal framework.


Part 3: Art Museum Grounds

Take the stairs down to the Art Museum grounds to view two additional sculptures that fun to view and traffic-free.

Sculpture 6: Monumental Holistic III (Betty Gold, 1979)

Sculpture Milwaukee 2021
Photo from sculpturemilwaukee.com

This sculpture by Betty Gold can be found outside of the Art Museum. It’s called Monumental Holistic III and was created in 1979. All of her outdoor pieces are constructed from welded steel.

Sculpture 7: LOVE (Robert Indiana)

Robert Indiana Love Sculpture Milwaukee Art Museum
Photo from sculpturemilwaukee.com

Robert Indiana’s LOVE Sculpture was a part of Sculpture Milwaukee a few years ago, and is now a permanent installation outside of the Art Museum, looking out over Lake Michigan. 


Part 4: On The Way Home

On the way home, drive around Milwaukee to find these other interesting pieces. Don’t miss downtown’s crown jewel, Gild The Lily!

Sculpture 8: Gild The Lily (Caribbean Hybrid I, II, III) (Carlos Rolón)

111 E. Wisconsin Ave

On your way home, drive past Chase Bank to see this colorful lobby installation by Carlos Rolón, known for bright, expressive, multi layered installations. He is a first generation Puerto Rican-American, and incorporates the architecture and design of the island in his art. He chose Chase Bank to act as a flame that attracts city dwellers to a key intersection.

Sculpture 9: William Hambling

Your kids will love these oversized squashes on the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts grounds along the Milwaukee River. The artist Sarah Lucas, the squashes are a symbol of growth, and she names them after people.

Sculpture 10: Timeology

The Suburban (723 S 5th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204)

Artist Tyree Guyton is a native of Detroit, and his commitment to social change drives his work.

Clocks are a recurrent motif found throughout many of his projects. They are often multicolored and playful, like his exhibition at The Suburban Gallery in Walker’s Point. To Guyton, clock are a reminder of the fleeing nature of man-made things, and of the need to take action to restore our environment before it’s too late.


Find out more about Sculpture Milwaukee, the artists, and events here. Learn more about Trolley Tours of Sculpture Milwaukee here.

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