The square's plan was drawn up by the Italian architect Carlo Rossi. According to the "Classical" style of the day, all the buildings lining the square are similar in design and form a harmonious architectural ensemble.
Arts Square derives its name from the cluster of museums, theaters and concert halls that surround it. Some of the most notable include:
• The Russian Museum, one of the country's two largest collections of Russian art,
• The Ethnographic Museum, representing all the ethnic cultures of the former USSR,
• The Small Opera and Ballet Theater (also known as the Mussorgsky Theater), often referred to as "the city's second fiddle to the Mariinsky for opera and ballet" but still a well-respected and centrally located theater,
• The Large Concert Hall (Bolshoi Zal) of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic - the city's prime classical music venue.
In the middle of Arts Square stands a Statue of Alexander Pushkin (1799-1836), Russia's most famous and most beloved poet and the author of the novel-in-verse "Evgeny Onegin" and some of the most beautiful poetry written about St. Petersburg.