Columbus, Ohio: Topiary Park
The Topiary Park in Columbus is a living landscape of a painting of a landscape. The Park is a living topiary of world-renowned artist Georges Seurat’s Post-Impressionist pointillist masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte. Topiary Park is the only known living sculptural interpretation of a painting and consists of eight boats, 54 human figures, three dogs, a monkey and a cat. Each figure is made of yew, the tallest of which stands 12 feet tall and guests can gain the best view of the painting from the eastern-most hill to the left of the bronze plaque in the Park. Photo: bucknut4pic/Fotolia
Conceptualized by local sculptor, James T. Mason and established in 1988, the garden was created by Mason and his wife Elaine and a team of city gardeners. A pond and a hill were installed in the Park in 1989 represent Paris’s River Seine and in 1998 a chateau-style gatehouse was built to complement the last remaining building from the nearby Ohio Deaf School campus. The Gatehouse features a new Visitor’s Center, restrooms, and a gift shop.
Once the site of the Historic Deaf School and Old Deaf School Park, seven acres that the Topiary Park sits on were first established in 1829 and included several school buildings. When the School relocated to Columbus’s north side in 1953, the neighborhood declined, however, saw a renaissance in the mid-1970s and was designated a historic district in the early 1980s. The Old Deaf School Park was also preserved and developed as a public park and flourished into the botanical treasure it is today.
While the topiary is the most remarkable aspect of the park, The Topiary Park is a beautifully landscaped living work of art with more than 220 trees, mature shrubs, carefully tended flower beds and winding walkways. Visitors can take in this extraordinary garden from a bronze plaque that highlights the original viewpoint of Seurat’s masterpiece, or they can wander among the living yew tree sculptures, joining them in their sunbathing, picnicking, and general enjoyment as in the painting. Columbus, Ohio: Topiary Park - Photo: bucknut4pic/Fotolia
The Topiary Park is located at 480 East Town Street in Columbus and is open every day. Docent-led tours are available on a donation basis and should be booked in advance. Self-guided tours can also be enjoyed by following the walkways through the park.
The Gatehouse & Visitors’ Center is located at the Town Street entrance on the south side of the park and is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and Saturday and Sundays from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Gatehouse & Visitors’ Center features an array of educational resources about the park and sells park-specific souvenirs and the Seurat painting that inspired it, with all proceeds going toward the continued maintenance of the Park. The Center also has a new media area, which has an archive of newsletters and other media coverage on the Par and shows a movie about the history of the park.
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Address: 480 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, Phone: 614-645-0197 Columbus, Ohio: Topiary Park - Photo: bucknut4pic/Fotolia
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Columbus, Ohio: Topiary Park
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