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Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Florida

If you are ever in the West Palm Beach area of Florida and feel the need for a cultural ‘fix’ then a visit to the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens is highly recommended.

Ann Norton lived from 1905 to 1982 and was the second wife of Ralph Hubbard Norton, the founder of the Norton Museum; also to be found in West Palm Beach.

The 1. 7 acre gardens surround the house where Ann lived with her husband Ralph until his death in 1953. She later designed the gardens with the help of Sir Peter Smithers and the house is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

In keeping with Ann Norton’s intention that her work, studio, and garden environment be left for the enjoyment and education of the community the Gardens are now operated as a public foundation with membership open to the public and, as well as occasional artists workshops in the grounds and in Ann Norton’ s sculpture studio, offer a schedule of exhibitions by a variety of recognised artists.

At the time of writing, exhibitions in the near future include the “Festival of Trees”, in which the Gardens will host a community event featuring decorated evergreen trees and “Extraordinaire”; a memorial exhibition of large format flora photographs to honour the work of Sir Peter Smithers, gardener, photographer and long time friend of the Sculpture Gardens.

A stroll through the gardens will reveal over three hundred species of palms and plants as well as many of Ann’s sculptures. It is almost like stumbling into another world when you come across one of her monolithic sculptures set as they are in lush un-manicured surroundings. These were designed both to showcase her art and to provide a haven for the local bird life. These huge works of art are crafted from both brick and granite and are in a primitive, pre-Columbian style.

Many more of her sculptures are also to be found in the house itself, with over a hundred on display altogether.

The house and gardens are to be found at 253 Barcelona Road (corner of South Flagler) in downtown West Palm Beach on the Inter-coastal Waterway.

Opening hours, which are advertised as Wednesday – Sunday 11 am to 4pm (Closed August), are not always strictly adhered to and it always best to call ahead (561-832-5328) just to check! The entrance fee, regarded as a donation, for non-members is ‘suggested’ as a mere $5 for adults.

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