By Howard Pousner
Paradise Garden, the late Howard Finster’s northwest Georgia art environment, has been awarded a $445,000 grant, it was announced today.
The grant to Chattooga County, which purchased what is considered the prolific Finster’s greatest creation late last year, is from ArtPlace America, a new private-public partnership of top national foundations and banks and various federal agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts. ArtPlace’s mission is to “accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S.”
“It’s a WOW,” Janet Byington, board president of the Paradise Garden Foundation, e-mailed the AJC about the grant, the only one issued to a Georgia project.
Chattooga County envisions Paradise Garden, which had been decline and where visitation has fallen off sharply since Finster’s 2001 death, as a focal point of efforts to boost cultural tourism to one of Georgia’s poorest counties and its county seat, Summerville. The new nonprofit Paradise