Minneapolis-Harbin Garden

Beiming Yuan – Garden of Northern Brightness

Minneapolis-Harbin Sister City China Friendship Garden

The China Garden Committee of USCPFA-MN and the MN China Friendship Garden Society are working to create a China Garden at Washburn-Fair Oaks Park, across from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  This will be a sister-city China Friendship Garden with Northern-style architecture.  Harbin has been the sister-city to the City of Minneapolis since 1992.  Be sure to check the new website for the Minneapolis-Harbin Garden.

  • First traditional Northern-style Chinese Garden in the United States
  • Sister-City project between City of Minneapolis and its sister-city Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
  • Located in Washburn-Fair Oaks Park across from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
  • Partnering with Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, which is developing a Master Plan for the Washburn-Fair Oaks Park, with an option to include a Northern-style China Garden.

Possible Garden Features:

  • Open garden design that works with existing varied topography
  • Northern-style open-air pavilion (20×20 or 20×40) for picnics, weddings, concerts
  • Moon Gate “entrance”
  • Paved walkways
  • Chinese Bridge over water feature
  • Sitting areas (covered and benches)
  • Decorative Chinese rock
  • Four season use
  • Fully wheel-chair accessible
  • Sustainable and low maintenance park design


Garden site and possible features (slide show)





Advisor Weiming Lu is an Urban Designer and former President of Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation and a former trustee of the Minneapolis Foundation.  He is our chief advisor for the China Garden projects.  He has a proven track record locally and internationally for completing large-scale projects and obtaining funding.  His work includes Mears Park (a calm oasis in downtown St. Paul with a band shell, a stream, and landscaping; $ 1.8 million), the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary ($8.3 million to date), his role as an advisor to the Beijing Olympics, among many other projects.  His many awards include the Presidential Award for Design Excellence, and the Community Design Excellence Award from the Minnesota Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects, and the River Steward award from the Riverfront Corporation.  In 2013, he published The Tao of Urban Rejuvenation: Building a Livable Creative Urban Village, in Chinese and English (Beaver’s Pond Press).  His experience continues to be invaluable to this project.

Advisor Dr. Robert D. Jacobsen, Ph.D., is the founding curator of Asian art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where he is currently Chair of the Department of Asian Art Emeritus. He received his Ph D in Asian art history with a minor in Chinese language and literature at the University of Minnesota. His dissertation concerned The Inlaid Bronzes of the Warring States Period and Their Revivals. He served as a research fellow in the Department of Antiquities at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan and was an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Art history. He worked with KTCA public television in the production of a six-part series on the art and culture of China: Made in China, which he narrated, that premiered in 2002. His recent books include Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of arts, Imperial Silks: Ch’ing Dynasty Textiles in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Appreciating China: Gifts From Ruth and Bruce Dayton, and Celestial Horses and Long Sleeve Dancers:Ancient Chinese Tomb Figurines. In 2008 Dr. Jacobsen was granted theOutstanding Achievement Award by the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota in recognition of notable professional attainment.  During his tenure at the Minneapolis Institute of arts, Dr. Jacobsen organized 42 special exhibitions, expanded the Asian collections to over 15,000 objects, wrote 34 articles and books on Asian art and delivered over 300 public lectures. In 2006 he supervised the expansion of the Asian galleries from 22 to 43 galleries with the space devoted to China amongst the largest in the country.