Grounds for Sculpture at 25

Emilie Brzezinski, Lintel, 1993, bronze. Photo by David Howarth for dmhphotographer.com

By Laurie Pellichero

Founded by artist and philanthropist J. Seward Johnson, Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) has welcomed more than two million guests since it opened to the public in 1992. The 42-acre sculpture park, museum, and arboretum features a unique collection of contemporary sculpture, special programs, and seasonally-rotating exhibitions in six indoor galleries.

In honor of its 25th anniversary, GFS has opened five new exhibitions for its Spring/Summer Exhibition Season including two site-specific interior glass sculpture installations by Daniel Clayman, titled Daniel Clayman: Radiant Landscape and an exploration of space and sky with photographic collages and pastels by Elyn Zimmerman in Elyn Zimmerman: Sensitive Chaos.

GFS also features “Grounds For Sculpture: 25 Years,” which celebrates the people, spaces, and things that are uniquely GFS. Through never-before-seen images, insider tales, and hands-on interaction, guests will discover more about the collections, the evolution of the grounds, and the people who have contributed to its success.

In the Cecelia Joyce and Seward Johnson Gallery, “That’s Worth Celebrating: The Life and Work of the Johnson Family” focuses on the Johnson family’s passions, their belief in the spirit of innovation and the power of community, and how the founder’s vision for The Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture shaped Grounds For Sculpture’s early years.

Two new sculptures have been installed on the grounds. Seward Johnson’s newest work, Mystical Treasure Trip, is installed in the harbor near Rat’s Restaurant and the Monet Bridge. Barton Rubenstein’s Harmonize is 16-foot-tall stainless steel kinetic sculpture which is set in motion by the lightest breeze.

The Typewriter Project. Photo by Zach Teris for dmhphotographer.com

Also part of its 25th anniversary, GFS celebrates the power of the written word with The Typewriter Project, an interactive installation sited in the garden through September 28. “We’re inviting people to add their own voice, and enjoy typing on a vintage typewriter,” said GFS Executive Director Gary Schneider.

“We focus on innovative programming, with many programs and events to extend your day into the evening,” added Schneider. “It’s great to come to the park and relax after work.” Schneider is also excited about First Fridays at GFS, held the first Friday of each month starting July 7 and running through October 6, from 5-9pm. “Visitors can enjoy our open-air beer garden, listen to music, wander the grounds, see the art, meet artists, and take special tours of the on-site sculpture studio, The Seward Johnson Atelier.”

Another reason to visit GFS at night is the Plein Air Cinema Series, with outdoor showings on select Thursday nights of family and cult favorites from 1992 including  FernGully: The Last Rainforest (August 10) and Army of Darkness (September 7).

Moonlight tour and dinner packages are available through Rat’s Restaurant, with guests enjoying the grounds by flashlight. “It’s quite dramatic and theatrical,” said Schneider. September 24 brings Epicurean Palette, the annual gala celebration of food and wine that helps support the exhibitions and educational initiatives at GFS.

“We’re here with great events all year round,” said Schneider.

Grounds For Sculpture is located at 80 Sculptors Way in Hamilton. Summer hours are Tuesday through Thursday 10am to 6pm, Friday and Saturday 10am to 9pm, and Sunday 10am to 6pm. For more information, call 609.586.0616 or visit groundsforsculpture.org.

Daniel Clayman, Radiant Landscape, 2017. Photo by Zach Teris for dmhphotographer.com