The Way, an outdoor sculpture at Laumeier Sculpture Park, features giant red cylinders.

Find Arts and Culture Off the Beaten Path in St. Louis

Monday January 22, 2024

By Rachel Huffman

For the 2024 Visitors Guide, Explore St. Louis spoke with four leaders at the helm of the St. Louis arts-and-culture scene. Here, Dana Turkovic, curator of Laumeier Sculpture Park, shares her favorite ways to experience the arts in the Gateway City. See all the content in the official Visitors Guide here.

Curator Dana Turkovic poses at Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Dana Turkovic of Laumeier Sculpture Park | Photo by Gregg Goldman

I think that the most interesting way to experience St. Louis – its landscape, its history, its culture – is through public art. I would, of course, suggest visiting Laumeier Sculpture Park, but the Saint Louis Art Museum is also a can’t-miss attraction. While you’re there, seek out Stone Sea, a site-specific installation by Andy Goldsworthy. Using limestone from a local quarry, Goldsworthy constructed 25 unique arches employing ancient Roman dry-stone engineering, and you can view them through a series of windows in the museum. I love that the museum’s architecture encapsulates this monumental sculpture by this influential artist.

The Walls Off Washington, a new art initiative by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, is another place to view vibrant public art. Forming an outdoor museum of sorts, the 20 murals that currently make up The Walls Off Washington are all within a walkable space. As you traverse this immersive pathway, you get a really intimate experience with these captivating murals. You can also spot some of St. Louis’ iconic, red-brick architecture here.

I also recommend visiting the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site across the river in Illinois, which preserves the remains of the most significant prehistoric indigenous civilization in the region. While I’m there, I like to climb Monks Mound. Although it’s not very accessible, if you have the ability to make it to the top, you can see the layered history of the region. Underfoot, the mound itself deserves consideration and inspires reflection, as does the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis in the distance.

I’m looking forward to the new 1904 World’s Fair exhibition at the Missouri History Museum, as well. That’s set to open – with touch-screen computers that allow visitors to go on walking tours of the fair! – this year.