Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Gilgal Sculpture Garden

The Gilgal Sculpture Garden is a small public city park, located at 749 East 500 South in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The park, which is filled with unusual symbolic statuary associated with Mormonism, notably to the Sphinx with Joseph Smith's head, was a labor of love designed and created by LDS businessman Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. (1888-1963) in his spare time. The park contains 12 original sculptures and over 70 stones engraved with scriptures, poems and literary texts. Gilgal Sculpture Garden is the only designated "visionary art environment" in the state of Utah.


Thomas Child, a masonry contractor and Bishop of the 10th Salt Lake LDS ward, conceived of a symbolic sculpture garden that would be a retreat from the world and a tribute to his most cherished religious and personal beliefs.cite news |title=It Generates Weeds and Headaches, But to Many, This S.L. Monument to Spirituality Remains . . . A Secret Garden Garden Being Choked by Weeds |last=Miller |first=Phil |date=1996-06-29 |publisher=Salt Lake Tribune] He began building the garden in the back yard of his family home in 1945, when he was 57 years old, and continued to pour his time and money into the work until his death in 1963. Child named the garden Gilgal after the Biblical location where Joshua ordered the Israelites to place twelve stones as a memorial. The name "Gilgal" is sometimes translated to mean "circle of standing stones," an appropriate appellation for a sculpture garden. Gilgal is also the name of a city and a valley in The Book of Mormon, a sacred scripture in Mormonism.

Many of the sculptures and quotations found at Gilgal refer to LDS themes: the restoration of the Priesthood, the great Mormon migration west, and the many similarities Child saw between the ancient Israelites and his LDS forefathers, who sacrificed all for their faith.

Although Child was not a classically trained artist, he went to great lengths to obtain and shape the perfect stones for his beloved garden. He created a complete workshop in his yard for handling and cutting the stones, proudly stating that all the finish work for his statues was completed on the site. He also used some unconventional tools to cut the stones, including an oxyacetylene torch (usually used for welding).

The finished statues are likewise unconventional, even eccentric: a sacrificial altar, a shrine to Child's beloved wife Bertha, even a sphinx with the face of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. Child, who shared the garden with thousands of visitors over his lifetime, knew that not everyone would appreciate his particular artistic vision. His primary concern, however, was that the garden would succeed in making people think: "You don't have to agree with me," he said. "You may think I am a nut, but I hope I have aroused your thinking and curiosity." [Quoted at the [ Gilgal Sculpture Garden website] .]


Until 2000, the Garden was owned by the late Henry Fetzer family. Fetzer was a neighbor who bought the property after Child's death in 1963. Only open on Sundays, the garden was visited and often vandalized by late night trespassers. The family, tired of keeping up the garden considered making it the centerpiece of an apartment development. Instead, a group of citizens called the Friends of Gilgal Garden purchased an option to buy the property provided they could raise funds by January 10, 2000. [cite news |title= Fate of Gilgal as mysterious as its sculptures |last=Edwards |first=Alan |date=1999-08-25 |publisher=Deseret News] The group arranged a $400,000 commitment from Salt Lake County and $100,000 each from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, covering the lion's share of the purchase price. However these commitments were conditioned on the garden becoming a city park, which Salt Lake City Council was reluctant to take because of a budget crunch. [cite news |title= S.L. Council weighs fate of garden |last=Edwards |first=Alan |date=1999-12-29 |publisher=Deseret News] The property was eventually purchased for $679,000 and turned over to the city. On October 21, 2000, Gilgal Garden reopened as a city park. At a ceremony celebrating the occasion, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson called the Garden "an absolute jewel." [cite news |title=Gilgal Garden reopens to public as a city park |last=Urbani |first=Diane |date=2000-10-21 |publisher=Deseret News]

After many years of neglect and damage by vandals, the garden is badly in need of restoration. The Friends of Gilgal Garden, who serve as the park's curators, and a number of other nonprofit entities in the Salt Lake City area are in the process of raising funds to restore the damaged sculptures.

Visiting hours

Gilgal Garden is open to visitors during the following hours:
* April-September — 8 am to 8 pm daily
* October-March — 9 am to 5 pm, weather permittingThe Garden is closed on Christmas, New Year's Day, and Thanksgiving Day.


External links

* [ Gilgal Sculpture Garden official website] (includes interactive tour)
* [ Gilgal Garden Education website]
* [ Roadside America article] on Gilgal Garden

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of sculpture parks — This is a list of well known sculpture parks:Australia* National Gallery of Australia has a sculpture park from the gallery to the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.cite web |title= Art in Landscape, by Harijs Piekains |publisher= National Gallery of… …   Wikipedia

  • Buildings and sites of Salt Lake City, Utah — Salt Lake City, Utah is the most ethnically, politically, and religiously diverse city in the state of Utah. In addition to being the State capital, Salt Lake City is also among the largest and most historically significant cities in the Mountain …   Wikipedia

  • Miracle of the gulls — The miracle of the gulls is often credited by Latter day Saints ( Mormons ) for saving the Mormon pioneers first harvest in Utah. According to Mormon folklore, seagulls miraculously saved the 1848 crops by eating thousands of insects that were… …   Wikipedia

  • Salt Lake City Cemetery — The Salt Lake City Cemetery is in The Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah. Approximately 120,000 persons are buried in the cemetery. Many religious leaders and politicians, particularly many leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of… …   Wikipedia

  • Anthropology and Archaeology — ▪ 2009 Introduction Anthropology       Among the key developments in 2008 in the field of physical anthropology was the discovery by a large interdisciplinary team of Spanish and American scientists in northern Spain of a partial mandible (lower… …   Universalium

  • Common fig — Ficus carica Common Fig Common Fig foliage and fruit Conservation status …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”