“home of one the most well known modern folk artist”
Howard Finster may very well be the most well know modern folk artist of the 20th Century. The culmination of his artistic genius was a visual art site known today as Paradise Garden. Paradise Garden was begun in 1961 in the unincorporated community of Pennville, near Summerville, Georgia. Originally called the Plant Farm Museum by the artist, it was later dubbed Paradise Garden after Esquire magazine published an article titled Gardens of Paradise in December of 1975. The year following had two additions to the Garden which included the renaming to Paradise Garden by Finster. Also, in 1976 Paradise Garden was the site of a life changing vision for the artist as he had a vision to paint sacred art and to do 5,000 paintings. Howard thereafter dedicated himself to his profession by putting his tools from his most lucrative job of bicycle repair in a concrete sidewalk and painting over 47,000 works. January of 2012 was witness to the formation of the Paradise Garden Foundation (PGF). Chattooga County’s Development Authority entered into a 50 year lease with the Foundation to oversee the management of the property. A Board of 10 local Directors was appointed. A group study of the site was conducted with an information gathering session and site assessment. This analysis helped guide the professional team of LAS to create a cohesive plan for the use and restoration of the historic folk art site. The plan was finalized in May of 2012. Before the finalization of the plan the PGF worked with the Architectural firm LAS in continual discussion to follow suggestions towards initial projects that were started before the finalization of the site management plan.
Howard Finster was a folk artist of “sacred art” and minister from Summerville (he was born in Alabama, but moved here shortly thereafter.) He began building the Summerville garden in the 40s, and continued with Paradise Garden which is available for tours. He has been called both “the grandfather of Southern Folk Art” and “the Andy Warhol of the South.”
If you visit, there is a drive-thru-only restaurant nearby called Burger Shack. I highly recommend getting some grub here. Two thumbs up from the whole family, with great prices. Cash only, though, so be prepared.
One of the coolest off the path stops. Fascinating to walk around the grounds and take in the beauty he created.
Excellent experience! We came late; however the gentleman closing up allowed us to stay. We'll definitely be back!
I was thoroughly impressed. Well worth the two hour drive. Very friendly staff. I walk through every day for a year and still not see every detail.
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Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens
- Sun, Thu - Sat: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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