Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton, New Jersey is a trip to treasure. Whether you’re going solo, with the family, or gathering a group, the 42-acre not-for-profit sculpture park, arboretum, and museum are sure to please. It was founded by the late Seward Johnson and features over 300 contemporary sculptures by renowned and emerging artists in an ever-changing botanical landscape.
Grounds for Sculpture has just premiered two outstanding indoor exhibitions that will be on display through January 7, 2024. They are part of the new Perspectives series at GFS and explore the role of creating person-centered exhibitions, ensuring individual and communal agency in the art of storytelling.
Gary Garrido Schneider, executive director of Grounds For Sculpture, has commented, “We remain committed to engaging and challenging visitors of all ages and backgrounds with exhibitions and collections that present the work of contemporary artists through sculpture, while developing greater understanding of our audiences through storytelling and listening to the voices of the communities around us.”
On the ground floor of the Domestic Arts Building, Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits is a wonderfully curated exhibition that has been developed in partnership with 15 community members and led by talented artist, teacher, and journalist Madhusmita “Madhu” Bora. It is a multi-faceted portrait of the Indian diasporic community in New Jersey told through first-person narratives, images, video and personal objects. These stories are thoughtful and powerful. Relax and take your time to explore and appreciate each distinctive one. The significance of this exhibition is undeniable. It gives you a personal insight into the feelings and lifestyles of the participants.
“When people whose stories are not often heard have an opportunity to speak their truth, they are empowered and we are all made the better for it,” Bora stated. “We hope that through this exhibition our audience will be inspired to connect with their own histories, roots, memories, and share those with others.”
Spiral Q: The Parade
On the second floor of the Domestic Arts Building, Spiral Q: The Parade highlights Spiral Q, the community-based non-profit organization based in Philadelphia that is now in its 27th year. Their take-to-the streets approach, both real and virtual, has a deep commitment to social justice and equality. The colorful, fascinating exhibition showcases more than 100 objects and installations that include tribute banners, posters, objects, and wearable puppets from previous parades and processionals. Spiral Q: The Parade invites understanding and positive attitudes. It is an exhibition that should be seen by everyone, young and old alike.
According to Kathleen Ogilvie Greene, chief audience officer at Grounds For Sculpture and lead curator for both exhibitions, “Both Madhu Bora and Spiral Q have been amazing partners, and we are excited to present two distinct, yet connected, paths to storytelling: the individual narratives within one exhibition and the collective voice of a community in the other. I’m particularly delighted to be working on both shows with co-curator Quentin Williams, who brings his expertise as a curator, activist, and poet to the team.”
Both Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits and Spiral Q: The Parade are now on view. In addition to its permanent collection, Grounds For Sculpture offers exhibitions in six indoor galleries, alongside experiential art, horticulture, and wellness programs for all ages. Grounds For Sculpture is easily accessible from the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas by public transit and is open year-round, Wednesday – Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Tuesday). For extended hours from May to September, check the Grounds For Sculpture website.
Top: Local Voices: Memories, Stories, and Portraits
Photo Credit: Bruce M. White