Visit the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey

In Hamilton, New Jersey, on part of the land that once hosted the annual New Jersey State Fair, is the Grounds For Sculpture, a magical place where visitors can lose themselves in the magnificent and the unexpected.

The 35 acre museum and sculpture garden has both indoor and outdoor exhibit space, as well as two caf�©s, a restaurant and a gift shop. In the museum buildings, light floods through roof-high windows, bathing the sculpture in the same, ever-changing light as those out in the park. It is a great place to start, to acclimate oneself to being surrounded by sculpture, for once outside, the experience becomes a fantastic journey of discovery into modern art.

Some sculptures take residence on a concrete patio, gathered around a babbling water feature. Others nestle beneath trees, along gravel paths and beside still ponds and rocky waterfalls. There are stone forms that rise above like dinosaurs, and stainless steel constructions that hover like alien spaceships. On the day I visited, the weather was cool, and I was able to warm myself in a little wooden hut that contained a cozy seating area around a fireplace.

Perhaps the most breathtaking is the display area that resembles an ancient temple. Stone walls surround this space, in which various forms of sculpture await inside secret hideaway niches. A long promenade is flanked by goddesses and columns. Then around one corner, one is confronted with a stark contrast – George Segal’s iconic “Depression Breadline” with its desperate men forever frozen in line.

Grounds for Sculpture has an informative web site at www.groundsforsculpture.org which gives details about current new exhibits, special events and driving directions. Recently, special “touch tours” have been instituted for people with visual impairments. Hamilton is located not far from Trenton, New Jersey, and drivers know they are headed the right way when they begin seeing the huge sculptures that populate the lawns and grounds of businesses along the roads that lead there. Children especially seem to love the giant tooth that seems to spring up out of the ground.

A visit to Grounds for Sculpture is a must for visitors to New Jersey as well as those who live right in the Garden State. You will develop a new appreciation for modern art and sculpture.

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