Nestled within a scenic basin on Lookout Mountain in northwest Georgia, lies an indescribable world of mosaics, sculptures, pagoda-shaped chapels, elevated art galleries and relaxing porch swings. Created by the visionary artist, Howard Finster, Paradise Gardens is an assembly of utilitarian, cast-off objects that Finster turned into outdoor art pieces for the public to enjoy.
Whether he was sitting on the porch playing the banjo, sharing his performance art pieces, or installing work by other local artists he admired, Howard Finster was a beloved and active member of the community, who came to be known as the grandfather of modern folk art.
Finster created Paradise Gardens in 1961 and worked on the project for thirty years. Sadly, by the time of his death in 2001, the estate and surrounding artworks had fallen into disrepair. Little or no maintenance was undertaken until Chattooga County purchased the property a decade after Howard’s death. In quick time, thanks to the county’s restoration efforts, Paradise Gardens was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A celebratory reflection of the traditional crafts and traditions of Chattooga County, Paradise Gardens is not only a unique destination, it is an interactive testament to the power of transformation, renewal, and home.