Parque de Las Esculturas
Santiago is a city with no shortage of interesting museums. However, it’s also a city with no shortage of beautiful weather. Even if you’re intrigued by the artistic and historical museum offerings, it can seem like a shame to spend a sunny day indoors. A perfect solution to this conundrum is the Museo Parque de las Esculturas (Sculpture Park Museum). This open-air museum is actually a picturesque park located in Providencia featuring sculptures from Chilean and international artists.
The park’s history is the perfect example of “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” In 1982, there was one of the biggest floods in Santiago’s history, with the Rio Mapocho overflowing and damaging significant sectors of the city. One such area was the current location of the Parque de las Esculturas–between Avenida Santa Maria and the river, spanning between Pedro de Valdivia and Nueva Lyon. What had previously been a garden and park area was wiped out by the flood. Hoping to turn this into a positive situation, a group of local artists began an initiative to create the sculpture park. They wanted to beautify the destroyed gardens while also promoting artistic expression in the city. Their undertaking was successful, and the park, designed by architect German Bannen, was inaugurated in 1986.
The park’s first sculpture was “Pachamama” by Marta Colvin. Since the inauguration, the collection has grown steadily, and there are currently around 40 permanent sculptures. Esteemed Chilean artists created many of the works, and several of the pieces have won prestigious international awards. There is also an indoor exposition rooms for rotating exhibits, which often features the work of emerging artists. The park itself is well manicured and features trees and flowers from around the world, making it somewhat of a botanical garden. You can have a picnic in the park surrounded by lush greenery and intriguing art–it’s the perfect free activity for a sunny Santiago afternoon. On a clear day, you’ll even be able to glimpse the peaks of the Andes. If you stay later in the evening, you’ll be able to see the light installations that were created by Argentinean engineer Ruben Amsel in 2013.
How to Get There
To arrive to the park, take the metro to Pedro de Valdivia and exit north on Pedro de Valdivia. Continue walking until you cross the Pedro de Valdivia Bridge, which represents one border of the park. Entry to the park is free, and there are no tours available. It is much more like a park than a museum, but it is surrounded by gates that are locked when the park is closed. Hours of operation are 10:00-19:30, seven days a week. The park is open every day of the year but is sometimes occupied by concerts and events. The city’s annual International Jazz festival happens here each summer. Unfortunately, the park does not currently have a website with information about events and exhibits.