Published May/June 2013

Petal and Metal

An outdoor gallery in Prescott provides a harmonious balance of art and nature

Towering twists of metal swirl in the breeze. Sounds of trickling water spring from glistening stands of textured copper. Soft shades of blue, purple, and yellow blooms dot the landscape. This serene setting at the Yavapai College Sculpture Garden provides a sensory experience perfect for a casual stroll and quiet contemplation.
The four-acre garden, located next to the YC Performance Hall and Art Gallery, includes a diverse collection of contemporary sculpture, native plants, robust irises, and scattered benches. Here, a meandering paved path offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy the garden’s manicured landscape and large-scale works by area artists.
Springing up in the early ’90s, the garden has been an ongoing project of Friends of Yavapai College Art (Friends, for short), an auxiliary dedicated to supporting the visual and performing arts. And the plans have taken root, with enough private donations to acquire a total of 11 installations.
Among the first displayed is a piece by Richard Marcusen, a former member of Friends and a Yavapai College art professor who was instrumental in the garden’s creation. The 14-foot structure, depicting a family of five and composed of welded steel and reinforcing rod, is especially impressive at night, when accent lighting casts dramatic shadows of the figures against the wall.
Made from clay, stone, and various metals, the other installations range in height from 5 to 19 feet and include curvilinear abstract forms, a unique arrangement of 40 sandstone slabs, reflective wind-catchers, a water fountain, and a larger-than-life whimsical frog. The surrounding landscape features native plants with plaques that identify their donors, and award-winning irises, maintained by the Prescott Area Iris Society.
Future plans involve acquiring more sculptures and expanding the garden’s acreage. And as it continues to grow, so too does the appreciation of those who visit this delightful haven.
For More Information
Call your local AAA Travel professional at 1-888-870-9392  or visit
If You Go
1100 E. Sheldon
Prescott, Ariz.
Hours: Sun – Thurs, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Fri – Sat, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
The best time to visit the garden is typically May when the irises are in full bloom. 
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