Grounds for Sculpture
Combine a 42-acre outdoor park and garden with whimsical and larger-than-life sculptures, and you get New Jersey’s Grounds for Sculpture.
I’d heard about it and wanted to visit for awhile. And I loved it more than thought I would! It is a magical place where art and nature are always at play. At its core are more than 270 sculptures by renowned and emerging contemporary artists. But more than that, it’s how each one is thoughtfully positioned on meticulously landscaped parkland full of thousands of exotic trees and flowers. It is a feast for the senses. It’s hard to not smile as you walk around discovering ‘hidden’ sculptures around every corner. The works include those of distinguished artists as Clement Meadmore, Anthony Caro, Beverly Pepper, Kiki Smith, George Segal, Magdalena Abakanowicz, and Isaac Witkin. Okay, I didn’t know any of these people by name, but the sculptures are wonderful and the way they are placed around the grounds makes it so unique and refreshing.
Where is it?
Grounds For Sculpture is situated on the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Central New Jersey and includes three restored, historic buildings. Construction on the park began in 1989 and it opened to the general public in 1992, after I’d already moved away from New Jersey.
Seward Johnson, Founder of Grounds For Sculpture
Our vision for Grounds For Sculpture is that it will continue to fill people everywhere with the emotional sustenance derived from the powerful and restorative connection between art and nature.
To create a place to make contemporary sculpture more accessible to greater numbers of people from all backgrounds; to offer them the opportunity to develop privately, step-by step, a more intimate relationship with contemporary art; to share that experience with others in a familiar, accessible, informal setting in nature—giving them the chance, as Picasso said, to wash away “from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
More than Just Sculpture
One of New Jersey’s highest rated restaurants, Rats, is located inside the Grounds. There are also concerts, special guided walks, classes, and family activities.
Right now, SEWARD JOHNSON: The Retrospective with all of his iconic sculptures (like the huge, 26-foot tall Marilyn Monroe) as well his ordinary folk bronze figures sprinkled all over the park has been extended to July 2015 by popular demand. If you are nearby, I’m telling you: GO see it! It’s fun, delightful, and just cool.