In May, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded the Paradise Garden Foundation $55,000 to restore self-taught artist Howard Finster’s World’s Folk Art Church. This is the latest—and most prominent—benchmark in the Garden’s restoration during the last decade. In 2010, the property landed on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 10 Places in Peril list. But by 2012, advocates had gotten it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, wind chimes jingle and sparkle, and tadpoles scoot across little channels Finster dug between gardens and whimsical concrete sculptures. Once again, visitors can climb up the stairs and peek into the fanciful House of Mirrors or stroll along the Rolling Chair Ramp to glimpse memorabilia tracing the prolific artist’s rise to fame. Stay overnight in the Airbnb or just visit the new museum, where you can watch a short film featuring Finster’s famous friends Keith Haring and Johnny Carson. It’s as if a spell has been broken, and Finster’s Garden has woken up from its enchanted slumber.
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