Paradise Garden RevivalSummerville, GA
Paradise Garden was the Creation of the Reverend Howard Finster. Finster captivated the world in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with his style of Outsider Folk Art. Howard in his “Senior years” created over 46,000 pieces of art and during that time he captivated people from around the world to his spectacle of inspiration, Paradise Garden. The Garden is a complex mastery of cast off material assemblage of which sits tucked away in a small community, Pennville, north of Summerville, Georgia, in Chattooga County. Chattooga County and the Paradise Garden Foundation have been working to restore the historic site and promote the Arts locally.
ArtPlace spoke with Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters.
ARTPLACE: What is your elevator pitch when you describe your project to people?
WINTERS: Howard Finster was one of Chattooga County, Georgia’s most famous residents and not only did he call Chattooga County Home but he drew inspiration from here. Howard Finster and Paradise Garden allows us to put a positive image of our County and doing so also allows us to promote a struggling economy. Chattooga County is the most economically depressed counties in Appalachian Georgia. Howard wanted to promote and inspire Artists. To us here in Chattooga County Art Creation is Job Creation. Having people come and visit Paradise Garden and draw inspiration from his site also allows them to be a part of the culture of artists who call Chattooga County Home just as Howard did. We want to promote Chattooga County as art hub for the region and State. Paradise Garden is an already existing treasure that allows us to do so.
ARTPLACE: How do you expect to increase vibrancy in Chattooga County?
WINTERS: Chattooga County understands and takes into account that we already have many artists who call Chattooga County home and either significantly support their income or make their income through art sales. This already existing factor helps us work to coordinate efforts to promote and develop the arts of Chattooga County. From performing arts of which we are planning a community play in the historic Dandy Denson Auditorium in Summerville of Annie, Jr. to Art Classes being taught at our Newly formed Vision Gallery Chattooga County wants to increase its vibrancy by bringing people in to our community to see not only the Internationally renowned art site Paradise Garden but also to see what degree of Artists Chattooga County has who call this mountain oasis home.