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Special Event

Remembering Seward Johnson

June 5 2021 — June 6 2021 8 AM — 3 PM
Remembering Seward Johnson

Remembering Seward Johnson
Celebrating a Groundbreaking and Truly Creative Life

Last year Grounds For Sculpture and The Seward Johnson Atelier lost our visionary founder, Seward Johnson.  Now that we can again gather, we have planned a memorial weekend to celebrate and honor his extraordinary life and gifts to the community.  Please join us for a variety of special daytime events all weekend.  You’ll have the opportunity to meet artists in our collection and the staff of The Seward Johnson Atelier, plus a chance to record your stories, tributes, and remembrances.  Other experiences to include:

  • Live music
  • Poetry readings
  • Dance performances
  • Drum Circle
  • Atelier demos
  • New self-guided tours
  • Sing-Along
  • And more

Hosted by the Johnson Family, The Seward Johnson Atelier, The Atlantic Foundation and Grounds For Sculpture



Seward Johnson self-guided tour
Explore sculptures by Seward Johnson currently on view by following the interactive map gfsmap.org


Seward Johnson Explorer’s Guide
Take a closer look at Seward Johnson’s artwork and legacy with a specially created Explorer’s Guide. GFS Explorer’s Guides are free online resources for visitors of all ages to investigate, reflect and connect with the collection and landscape at GFS.


ISC Lifetime Achievement Award self-guided tour
Explore works currently on view at GFS by sculptors who have received the prestigious International Sculpture Center (ISC) Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1977, Seward Johnson was asked to serve as president of the ISC. Seward eagerly jumped at the opportunity and developed the ISC on the firm ground the organization stands on today. ISC’s Board of Trustees established the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991 to recognize individual sculptors who have made exemplary contributions to the field of sculpture. Candidates for the award are masters of sculptural processes and techniques who have devoted their careers to the development of a laudable body of sculptural work as well as to the advancement of the sculpture field as a whole.
Interactive map: gfsmap.org


Seward Johnson ArtBox
True to Seward Johnson’s vision on the Joy of Discovery and Self Exploration, find special, golden ArtBoxes hidden around the grounds and discover what is inside! Create, reflect, and share your own sculptures this weekend with whatever inspires you.
Complimentary; hidden throughout the grounds for you to discover!


Touchstones – by The Outlet Dance Project
Touchstones are multi-disciplinary, site-specific invitations for guests to engage with sculptures and locations in ways that they would not ordinarily. At each location, you will find a prompt that poses open-ended questions and instructions. Touchstones encourage deeper, more embodied and experiential conversation with GFS’s Collection, and an opportunity for guests who frequent GFS to encounter the work with new eyes. Five of the sites selected honor five of the original artists (Herk Van Tongeren, Isaac Witkin, Brooke Barrie, Brian Carey, Bruce Daniels) who were absolutely essential in the development of GFS. True to Seward Johnson’s vision statement, Touchstones celebrate “Sensory Delight, Joy of Discovery, Visceral Experience, and Emotional and Spiritual Invitation.”
Various locations throughout the grounds


Meet the Artists
10 AM – 12 PM, Saturday and Sunday
Meet artists from the GFS Collection onsite at their sculptures, hear about their work and ask questions.
Various locations throughout the grounds


Drum Circle
12 PM, Saturday and Sunday
Celebrate life, community and music making! Join in creating group rhythm led by artists Autin Wright and Mike Gyampo, drum maker and teacher Jim Davidson, drummer and teacher Dave Miller, and drummers Anthony Flamio and Allison Brown. The mystical powers of drum music will be the conduit for the invocation of the spirits of friends and builders of the Atelier as we celebrate Seward. May the ancestral spirits guide us this day and forevermore.
Location: The Seward Johnson Atelier, enter at gate near 325 on gfsmap.org


Meet the Staff of The Seward Johnson Atelier
12 PM – 2 PM, Saturday and Sunday
The Atelier was created out of Seward’s pursuit to open access to previously guarded information on production techniques. At that time, foundries would bar entry to artists, and in a way, created dependency and inhibited growth. We invite you to take a walk through our back door and visit with this gathering of artists who helped Seward achieve the impossible. In the spirit of exploration and collaboration, experience this unique environment through the weekend’s various demos and join the dialogue.
Location: The Seward Johnson Atelier, enter at gate near 325 on gfsmap.org


Poetry Reading 
1 PM, Saturday and Sunday
Join us for a poetry reading featuring poems inspired by GFS, art in nature, Seward Johnson, and his legacy. The arts have been a cultural and familial cornerstone within the Johnson family for decades. Poetry, particularly, is so much loved that Cecelia Joyce and Seward Johnson would often read it to each other. Many of their favorites and other hand selections can be found on markers throughout Grounds For Sculpture, used as a loose commentary on the adjacent sculptures. These poems have become pillars of the Grounds’ interdisciplinary engagement with art, nature, and music, creating a place of creativity and community and reflecting Seward’s vision.
Location: Amphitheater


Dan Kassel, Cellist, performs at The Nine Muses
2 – 2:40 PM, Saturday and Sunday
Emotionally provocative and layered in symphonic warmth, Dan Kassel’s solo cello music brings this classical instrument to new heights. Using an acoustic cello, a Boss RC-50 looping station and minimal effects, Dan bridges the gaps between Klezmer and Irish folk, Indian classical and down-tempo electronic music, levity and suspense. His ability to use technology to loop and layer his instrument into expansive tapestries of sound is impressive, but the element that really stands out is the cello’s deep and moving resonance.
Location:411 on gfsmap.org


Share a Story in the Chamber of Internal Dialogue
10 AM – 3 PM, Saturday and Sunday
Record audio of your memories and stories of Seward, Grounds For Sculpture, and The Seward Johnson Atelier, inside one of Seward’s recently reopened sculptures. Location: 611 on gfsmap.org


New exhibition on view:The Bond of Inspiration: India Blake Johnson and Seward Johnson
10 AM – 3 PM, Saturday and Sunday
Prior to gaining recognition as a sculptor, innovator, and founder of the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture, Seward Johnson was a painter who painted primarily on canvas with acrylics. As his career as a sculptor flourished, his painting projects subsided — except for one unique format: painted trays. Seward collected trays from antique shops and other locations as a canvas for his homey, intimate scenes. The subjects are places of the heart and very personal.

In 2017, Seward’s passion for painting trays accelerated. Having exhibited with his daughter, India Blake Johnson , at Casina Valadier, in Piazza Bucarest, Rome, Seward was so inspired by India’s work he feverishly began to paint, exploring the inspiration of her lens, and reimagining her photographs as a continuation of his Midnight Snack Art. You will find his inclination to explore the same photograph repeatedly, illustrating the subtle nuances of his changing perceptions. While creating these trays, Seward voiced a deep desire to see the works exhibited together again, highlighting the bond between father and daughter, as artists.
Location: Cecelia Joyce and Seward Johnson Gallery
Exhibition Catalog available for purchase in the Museum Shop


Remembering Seward Johnson 2
The Outlet Dance Project
Three cycles of performances between 11 AM – 3 PM, Saturday and Sunday
Experience site-specific dance inspired and informed by four of Seward Johnson’s iconic sculptures. The Outlet Dance Project is an annual festival of artists sharing their vision through site-specific dance and film at Grounds For Sculpture. In its 17th year, the festival champions the work of women and people of marginalized genders. It celebrates the intersections of visual and moving arts, exploring relationships between sculpture and dance, place and movement. www.theoutletdanceproject.com

Cycle 1
11 AM11:20 AM11:40 AM12 PM
Confrontational Vulnerability 125 at gfsmap.orgOn Poppied Hill 220 at gfsmap.orgGod Bless America 708 at gfsmap.orgThe Awakening 814 at gfsmap.org
Cycle 2
12:20 PM12:40 PM1 PM1:20 PM
Confrontational Vulnerability 125 at gfsmap.orgOn Poppied Hill 220 at gfsmap.orgGod Bless America 708 at gfsmap.orgThe Awakening 814 at gfsmap.org
Cycle 3
1:40 PM2 PM2:20 PM2:40 PM
Confrontational Vulnerability 125 at gfsmap.orgOn Poppied Hill 220 at gfsmap.orgGod Bless America 708 at gfsmap.orgThe Awakening 814 at gfsmap.org

Choreographer Bios:
donia salem harhoor (she/they) is executive director of The Outlet Dance Project, founder of the Duniya Collective, and is a principal dancer and choreographer with Sakshi Productions. www.doniasalemharhoor.com

Ann Robideaux, The Outlet Dance Project’s associate director, is a choreographer, dance filmmaker and educator. She is also the Dance and Theater coordinator at Princeton Day School. www.AnnMakesDances.com

Heidi Cruz-Austin is a choreographer and professor of dance. Currently, Heidi is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Muhlenberg, where she serves as the co-director of dance recruitment and the associate school director of the Muhlenberg Community Dance Center.

Italy Bianca is a multimedia/sacred artist raised in South Carolina but currently living in New York. www.italybianca.com

Elba Hevia y Vaca, Artistic/Executive Director and Founder of Pasión y Arte was born in La Paz, Bolivia. www.pasionyarteflamenco.org

Sinta Penyami Storms is a traditional Indonesian dance artist who is also known as a strategic, visionary, and community-based leader. www.sintapenyami.com


Remembering Seward Johnson Sing-Along
4 – 6 PM, Sunday
Meet at the Great Lawn at Grounds For Sculpture for a Sing-Along led by Adam Weitz and Phil Orr. Joining Seward Johnson in song, with light food and drink, was a magical experience. Together we will remember Seward while singing beloved favorites from Broadway, and classics from the American songbook, like George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more—a pastime Seward loved.

The Seward Johnson Atelier
Atelier Class: Drawing in Space with Wire- Still Life
Wednesday, April 17 2024
Special Event
Garden Circle Seasonal Tour
Thursday, April 18 2024
Tots For Sculpture | Sunny Butterflies
Saturday, April 20 2024

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