The living quality of art is no better represented than in the Nath Sculpture Garden, a 2.5-acre area that surrounds the museum and brings American and international sculptures into conversation with native plants and trees.
Named for its donors, professors Joginder (1932–2016) and Charlotte Nath, the sculpture garden “emphasizes nature and art in a space people will find appealing and attractive—a place they will want to spend time,” as Joginder expressed it. “It extends the museum setting to the outdoors for art to be appreciated and enjoyed by many and for students and faculty to learn and grow.”
Joginder was a professor of genetics and department chair in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design—Charlotte a retired professor of family medicine—who worked with students in art, design, and landscape architecture to plan the garden in a series of senior projects that took place over several years. Studying elevation, native plants, and the museum’s collection, Joginder and his students envisioned and then achieved the Nath Sculpture Garden.
The garden currently features four stone Shona sculptures from the McGee collection; a piece by the late American sculptor and stained glass artist Odell Prather; Bridge by the contemporary Chinese artist, He Zhenhai; and a stainless steel piece by renowned sculptor and artist Wayne Trapp called The Spirit of Growth (2015), purchased with funds donated by George and Viera Trapp. The Spirit of Growth stands on a slight rise just outside the museum’s west entrance, described by Viera Trapp as “much like a sentinel keeping watch over the garden.” Throughout the Nath Sculpture Garden, visitors will also notice an array of boulders that complement the solidity of the sculptures. These boulders were donated by WVU alumni John and Joyce Allen, who own limestone rock quarries in West Virginia.
The Nath Sculpture Garden—from its origins to its boulders, from the museum’s sculpture to the garden’s native plants—is truly a locally rooted site that beautifully demonstrates the organic nature and enduring quality of creative expression.