West Street Sculpture Park – Galena, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

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West Street Sculpture Park

Dozens of large steel sculptures fill this two-acre park outside a former blacksmith's studio. 

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John Martinson has been upcycling scrap materials to make quirky sculptures since he opened his Galena studio in 1986. This two-acre park beside his studio has grown to contain more than 30 sculptures with name signs and an info map. Many of the sculptures are interactive such as Klymme, an altered set of monkey bars that kids may climb with parental supervision, and Sunrise Spinnin, which squeaks and wobbles when the large bar rotates.

Martinson moved to Galena, Illinois, to run a blacksmith shop before transitioning into making sculptures from scrap metal. His sculpture named Boulders, which is made of rusty steel drums that were crushed into interesting shapes, caused controversy when it was originally displayed in front of a town gallery causing many residents to complain that it was trash and not art. One of the more charming stories is about a grumpy resident complaining about the artwork until he is reminded of how much he brags about his rusty old 1967 International pickup, which has holes in the floor and yet the owner proclaims it to be a thing of beauty.

Know Before You Go

Visitors are welcome, parking on the street side or in the small driveway. Admission is free but donations encouraged. Brochure maps are in the Information Center stand near the driveway.

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January 12, 2023

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