A visit to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey
Rest assured that I have not been sneaking about the woods spying on romantic young couples! Pictured above is an amazingly life-like metallic sculpture by painter, sculptor, and philanthropist J. Seward Johnson II. (As in Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids.)
Johnson first conceived the idea in 1984 of a public sculpture garden where people could experience contemporary art in a relaxed and informal setting. Construction began in 1989 on the former site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Hamilton, New Jersey, and Grounds for Sculpture opened to the public in 1992. There are over 270 works, with many by Johnson himself but also many by other well-known artists. It is a not-for-profit public corporation that is supported by visitor’s fees, donations, and grants.
One of the great features of the park that I particularly enjoyed, is Johnson’s own 3-dimensional renderings of characters and other elements from famous impressionist paintings. My favorite example of this is a sculpture / scene entitled “Were You Invited?” This is a 3-D and life-size interpretation of Renoir’s “The Luncheon of The Boating Party”, and it is great fun! You can walk around it, peek into it, and feel as though you are part of the party! (Regrets that I did not get a picture of this piece.)
Here is a link to the Grounds for Sculpture website.
I found this to be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! Be aware that most of the art is outdoors, so keep the weather report in mind. There are several dining options ranging from café style for a coffee and a pastry up to more substantial fair such as hot soups and made-to-order sandwiches. Adult admission for me was $15. There are plenty of restrooms, free parking, and a very nice museum gift shop. I actually made the decision to NOT try to see everything during my first visit because I realized right away that I wanted to come back soon with Mrs. Working Stiff.
Enjoy the pictures!
The Working Stiff