Howard Finster's Paradise Garden has been on my to-do list for a long, long time. Some of his pieces are at the High Museum, so I've been fortunate enough to see them in person. But his house? It's a bit out of the way, and never do I ever drive by or even through Summerville. I had to plan a very specific trip and what better time than my birthday!
Amber and I gassed up her car and took off for a three hour drive to Summerville. Soon the tall buildings of Atlanta faded away to the rolling hills of North Georgia. Drive drive drive...and finally Paradise!
Fun tip: Don't park in front of this sign. The official entrance is located on the other side of the property.
From ParadiseGardenFoundation.org: Reverend Howard Finster, a self proclaimed “Man of Visions”, Finster was one of America’s most widely known and prolific self-taught artists producing over 46,991 pieces of art before his death in 2001. He saw himself as a sacred artist, tirelessly recording his visionary prophesies and providing glimpses of a celestial outer space world that God revealed to him. These visionary journeys were very real for Finster, providing a limitless variety of images for his creative endeavors.
Another Fun Tip: Don't let the high fence fool you! This is a very welcoming place.
For a moment, we were scared that I had read something wrong on the website and that we drove three hours to a closed garden.
We were greeted by a gregarious volunteer and paid a small entrance fee. Two tickets to paradise! We spent the next few hours taking photos all around the property.
A covered rolling chair ramp was constructed to offer handicapped people a view of the Garden. The walls are covered with artwork by Finster and his artist friends. I was excited to see some work by folks I knew.
The Mirror House stands in the far corner of the Garden. Mirrors line the walls, floor, and ceiling of the house giving me a great opportunity for an awesome selfie.
I mean, c'mon...isn't that a great Facebook profile picture!?!
These photos don't even cover half of what we saw! I took an entire roll of photos with my Holga so I'll upload those whenever I get them developed. Howard Finster's Paradise Garden is definitely worth the trip, especially if you're into folk and visonary art like I am!