Finster Fest Returns to Paradise Garden on Memorial Day Weekend

Finster Fest Returns to Paradise Garden on Memorial Day Weekend

Finster Fest 2016

Photo by Nick Burchelle

Finster Fest, the annual festival honoring the life and legacy of Summerville’s famous folk artist the Rev. Howard Finster, will take over Paradise Garden on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28.

After several years at Summerville’s Dowdy Park, with shuttles to Paradise Garden for tours only, Finster Fest moved to Howard Finster’s art environment last year, attracting a record 1,700 festival-goers.

The celebration this year will center on the marketplace of more than 50 artists, a majority of them self-taught, led by nationally recognized makers Missionary Mary Proctor, Peter Loose, Deb “Miz Thang” Garner, Jim Shores, and C.M and Grace Laster. Finster Fest has a long tradition of introducing top-flight folk artists, and newcomers this year will include Georgia painted metal cutout artist Tex S. Crawford along with folk potter Michael Ball and painter Charlie Frye, both from North Carolina.

A busy concert stage (acts to be announced), a children’s art-making area, and food and drink also will be offered.

The fest, which was launched by Howard Finster himself in 1991, presents guests an opportunity to explore and be inspired by this greatest creation of the late folk artist, whose 100th birthday celebration kicked off in December with events in Atlanta and Summerville. Artists who had shown at Finster Fest years ago with its founder, who died in 2001, said that they knew he would have been overjoyed last year to see so many people returning to Paradise Garden, and a new generation making the pilgrimage as well.

Again this year, the $5 admission fee benefits the nonprofit Howard Finster Paradise Garden Foundation in its ongoing work to restore and operate the cultural attraction.

Howard Finster, one of America’s most widely known folk artists, began creating what would become Paradise Garden in 1961 with found recycled materials to celebrate the inventiveness of mankind. His modus operandi was stated clearly on a hand-lettered sign at the entrance to his studio (now the Visitor’s Center): “I took the pieces you threw away and put them together by night and day. Washed by the rain, dried by the sun, a million pieces all in one.” The famed sign is now part of the permanent collection of the High Museum of Art.

Paradise Garden was named one of 50-plus essential places to visit in the 365 Atlanta Family website’s 2017 Best of Georgia roundup.

Finster produced nearly 47,000 numbered pieces of original art at an age when many typically ease into retirement. His work has been featured in numerous museums including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, and on album covers for R.E.M. and Talking Heads.

For updates on the event and participating artists, visit Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden on Facebook.

WHEN: Saturday, May 27
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 28
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

COST: $5.00

WHERE: Paradise Garden 200 N Lewis St, Summerville, Georgia 30747

FEATURED ARTISTS: Missionary Mary Proctor, Peter Loose, Deb “Miz Thang” Garner, and C.M and Grace Laster and more

INFORMATION: , 706.808.0800