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Paradise Garden

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FAITH...LOVE OF NATURE...LOVE OF FAMILY AND OF ALL PEOPLE...REPURPOSE AND RECYCLE... A STRONG WORK ETHIC AND EVEN A NEW LEASE ON LIFE AFTER THE AGE OF 60...ALL OF THESE DESCRIBE FINSTER YESTERDAY AND TODAY. Come visit Paradise Garden and step into the heart and mind of a visionary man... be inspired and Let the Garden speak to you as it spoke to Howard.

Paradise Garden attained international pop icon status after Howard Finster's vision. The outdoor art environment has been the subject of many documentaries and articles. The site is listed by many travel publications as a top destination. Images of the site can be seen on cover art and is included in music videos from groups like REM, Black Hawk and the Talking Heads. Howard Finster cultivated a landscape that also included other artist's work at the Garden, such as Pop Art icon Keith Haring and graffiti Miami artist Purvis Young. Howard and his garden were also featured on NBC's The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Paradise Garden is a maze of buildings, sculptures and displays. The Gardens were built from found objects and recycled materials ranging from bottles, bathtubs and toilets to bicycle frames and cast-off jewelry.

In 2010 a potential for the local government of Chattooga County to buy the property from the then owning not for profit organization that had originally been started by Howard Finster's youngest daughter became a possibility through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). In December of 2011, with $125,000 in ARC grant money and private donations, Chattooga County purchased the Garden. The ARC had made as a stipulation of federal funds that there be the creation of a site management plan that would guide the transition of ownership and help to implement proven successful restoration activities. The Georgia Trust assisted the county with a Request of Qualifications and Proposals to implement a site management plan and over 20 responses were submitted. The Architectural Firm of Lord Aeck and Sargent (LAS) was selected to undertake the plan. LAS compiled a consortium of professionals that included the National Trust for Historic Preservation with heritage tourism advisement, the curator from The High Museum and Howard Finster's official biographer Tom Patterson.

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.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Wed10:00 AM4:00 PM
Thr10:00 AM4:00 PM
Fri10:00 AM4:00 PM
Sat10:00 AM4:00 PM
Sun1:00 PM4:00 PM
Notes: None Listed


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