Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) is a museum and sculpture park in Hamilton, New Jersey. Originally part of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds, the 42-acre park is set on the former site of the Fairgrounds and features a constantly evolving collection of more than 270 contemporary and bizarre outdoor sculptural recreations of Impressionist paintings. The Park also has six indoor galleries with a variety of rotating exhibitions, three historic buildings, as well as a year-round schedule of performing arts events, a range of guided tours, educational programs and community events for all ages, and magnificently landscaped acres to explore.
Founded by John Seward Johnson II in 1992, Grounds For Sculpture was established to promote an appreciation and understanding of contemporary sculpture through an outstanding range of exhibitions, educational programs, and special community events. The grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I, one of the co-founders of worldwide company Johnson & Johnson, John Seward Johnson created Grounds for Sculpture with the vision of causing visitors to feel as if they had fallen through a ‘looking glass’ where landscapes and characters from famous paintings come to life.
Combining art and nature in an enchanting setting in the heart of central New Jersey, Grounds For Sculpture features over 270 sculptures by renowned and emerging contemporary artists, including distinguished artists like Kiki Smith, Anthony Caro, Clement Meadmore, Beverly Pepper, Magdalena Abakanowicz, George Segal, and Isaac Witkin. Sculptures are thoughtfully placed through the beautiful landscapes of the property and are surrounded by thousands of exotic flowers and trees.
Many of the sculptures are of life-size human figures, which are displayed in open fields or grouped into display areas, while others are tucked away in nooks and crannies within the landscape waiting to be discovered. Sculptures are made from a variety of materials, ranging from stone, wood, metal, plastic, and paper, and cover a broad spectrum of subjects.
Grounds For Sculpture offers a diverse variety of unique educational experiences in the arts, ranging from hands-on art-making workshops for adults and children and artist residencies and demonstrations to the Artists’ Speak lecture series from artists and expert, and guided tours for all ages. Group activities at the Park include educational journeys through the gardens where visitors search for works of art according to a ‘Sculpture Search in the Park’ activity sheet, seasonal Family Exhibition Guides, and private group tours and workshops. In addition to these educational programs, Grounds For Sculpture also hosts special events throughout the year such as poetry readings, music concerts, and dance and theater performances.
Located within the Grounds For Sculpture and named after Kenneth Grahame’s character ‘Ratty’ in his novel The Wind and the Willows, Rat's Restaurant was designed by John Johnson and is surrounded by the spectacular natural scenery of the gardens. Boasting a Claude Monet-style atmosphere, the restaurant offers breathtaking views of the surrounding gardens and the impressionist-inspired sculptures within it, including a bridge over a lily pond in honor of Monet’s famous painting Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge (1897-1899).
Grounds For Sculpture is located in the Hamilton Township in New Jersey and is open to the public from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm from Tuesday through Sunday. The park caters for adult and student group visits, as well as team visits, and guided tours of the park. Groups can also order packed lunches from the café to enjoy during their stay.
Grounds for Sculpture also features two 10,000-square-foot exhibition buildings that house a variety of temporary exhibitions and an amphitheater with a year-round schedule of performing arts events. The Domestic Arts Building has a casual café that serves a menu of healthy snacks and drinks, and a museum shop and the gourmet Rat's Restaurant offers fine dining and beautiful views of the landscaped gardens and sculptures.
80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619, website, Phone: 609-586-0616
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