Grounds for Sculpture

a park full of living sculptures

Having taken the NJ Transit from Hamilton station up to Newark and New York City several times, I’ve always been fascinated by the larger-than-life sculptures surrounding the area. From the mariachi singers that welcome visitors at the train station parking lot, to the couple pointing up at the large tooth across the street, and the odd, scaled-looking horse and rider that can been seen from the transit train window on rides to Trenton, I’ve always had curious fantasies about the Hamilton area and it’s weird monuments.

Apparently, the source of the sculptures is no real mystery. The source is that they come from Hamilton’s Grounds for Sculpture, a initiative beginning in 1992 designed to promote greater appreciation of sculpture as art. The park’s 42 acres are dotted with various sculptures and other works of contemporary art, including my favorite: a series of diorama’s themed around Dante’s Inferno by Robert Taplin.

the meadow is home to some of the grounds’ more bizarre sculpture

Sculptures in the park cover a wide variety of themes and aesthetics. A newer area called “The Meadow” contains mostly darker, most bizarre sculptures while outdoor ones tend to focus on the more traditional; people, and places. Aside from sculptures, there’s also a decent cafe on the grounds, as well as a more expensive, high-class restaurant. This makes Grounds for Sculpture the perfect place for a date or day out, but also a potential destination for school trips. After all, the goal of the grounds is to promote education of the arts.

as a park plaque warns, some of the, more mature art may “challenge” younger visitors

Many of the sculptures are fascinating. A few are baffling. But all are, at least, interesting. All in all, Grounds for Sculpture is a great place to take a break and appreciate art, and maybe even muster up a little of your own creative inspiration. I came away from the grounds with not only a deeper appreciation of outdoor sculpture, but also with a wish that there were more places like it around. Art often comes under attack by narrow-minded people, but when we take the time to appreciate art in a comfortable and relaxing setting, we often find that we’re all capable of appreciating it.

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