Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden purchased by Chattooga County

Media release: The Paradise Garden Foundation announces that Chattooga County in Northwest Georgia purchased the visionary art site of the Howard Finster. Paradise Garden has attained international pop icon status since its creation. Howard Finster's 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. Howard and his garden were also featured on NBC's The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

The purchase was made possible by donations from local citizens, Finster collectors and a grant from The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The ARC is a federal commission that assists Appalachian communities with economic development. Congressman Phil Gingrey, M.D., said of the project, "The Paradise Garden project is not only a unique attraction and part of our state's history but important to the economic development of Chattooga County. The County's acquisition of this land will help ensure the Garden remains open for visitors to enjoy while boosting local tourism and creating jobs for the community. I look forward to seeing this attraction and the surrounding community flourish."

Chattooga County's Sole County Commissioner, Jason Winters commented, "This purchase ensures an ultimate protection for our communities' treasured art environment. Our goal is to save this local, national and internationally renowned art site while creating a sustainable heritage tourism destination to promote our local economy." Winters stressed that locally donated funds and local interest were key to the purchase as part of a required match. "We are excited that local citizens donated funds to make this purchase possible and that no county government funds were used to buy the cultural site," Winters added.

More about the Garden

Paradise Garden Located in Summerville, Georgia, 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. The setting is a four-acre swampland that is drained by numerous canals. Creation of The Paradise Garden Foundation

The Paradise Garden Foundation was created to enhance the site to be an economic driver for the local economy. Currently the Foundation is working to create a Site Management Plan. The plan is being completed by the Architectural Firms Lord, Aeck and Sargent and Landscape Architectural Firm, The Jaeger Company. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is providing Heritage Tourism assessment and planning.

The Paradise Garden Foundation Hires Executive Director, Jordan H. Poole.

The Foundation has hired Jordan H. Poole, a native to Summerville, as Executive Director. Poole holds a Masters degree in Historic Preservation and has previously worked for The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation as Field Services Manager and George Washington's Mount Vernon as Manager of Restoration. "I am excited to be a part of such a prestigious project in my hometown community," said Poole

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