LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP- Lower Makefield will host a display of eight sculptures from renowned artist and New Jersey native Seward Johnson. The life-size sculptures will be on display for residents and visitors to enjoy from June 1st through September 1st.
“We are delighted to welcome a new dimension to our park system through the installation and display of these beautiful and unique sculptures,” said Fred Weiss, Chairman of the Lower Makefield Township Board of Supervisors.
The sculptures, which are part of Johnson’s “Celebrating the Familiar” series, depict everyday people going about their daily lives. From a woman playing tennis to a man playing music these sculptures are designed to capture the beauty of ordinary life and make it extraordinary.
“We are thrilled to bring these sculptures to our community,” said Bette Sovinee, Executive Director of AOY Art Center. “Seward Johnson is one of the world’s most talented sculptors, and his work has the power to inspire, entertain, and uplift all who view it. We can’t wait for our residents and visitors to experience the joy of these beautiful sculptures firsthand.”
Recently the Township embraced a new vision for Parks and Recreation “Play for All“ which will serve as a theme for the sculptures this year throughout the Parks. As residents visit the sculptures they can Celebrate the Familiar while experiencing play in an entirely new way.
“This is a great opportunity for the Township to diversify programming and meet the needs of residents no matter their age, race or ability” said Monica Tierney, Lower Makefield Township Parks and Recreation Director. “The programming we intend to offer in partnership with Artist of Yardley will provide opportunities for the residents to connect, engage and experience something that they have not experienced in Lower Makefield Township previously.”
The exhibition is made possible through a grant from Visit Bucks County with Lower Makefield and AOY Art Center providing the matching funds. The funds will be used for the installation, maintenance, and interactive programming around the exhibit.
The sculptures will be on display at Community Park Memorial Park and one will be on display at Patterson Farm which houses the AOY Art Center.
This program is a direct response to a community needs assessment that was distributed in 2021/2022 that found residents were interested in more arts and culture within the Township. When this came to light, AOY Art Center reached out to the Township to determine a joint course of action and with a little creative thinking, a plan for Art in the Parks emerged. This program is made possible by a partnership with Lower Makefield Township, AOY Art Center, Visit Bucks County and The Seward Johnson Atelier.
For more information about the Seward Johnson sculpture exhibit, including event dates, sculpture locations, and to engage with the interactive elements, please visit lmt.org.
About the Art
“…it’s easy sometimes to forget the simple things that give us pleasure. ” How do you create your own fun?
Location: Kids Kingdom
Do you have time for a quick game of frisbee? Make sure you take notice of certain details, such as his rolled up pant leg, and their accessories. What books is he reading? Do you think they are going to school or coming home?
Location: Oxford Valley Bike Path between Caiola and the Community Center
Wine, Food and Thou
When was the last time you were on a picnic? What would you bring to eat and drink?
Location: Edgewood Rd, near the entrance to the Athletic Complex
In order to melt the silicon bronze used in casting, ingots (cast bars) are placed in a crucible and heated in a furnace to between 1,900 and 2,150 degrees. It then becomes a pourable liquid, ready to be poured into the mold. Seven separate molds were used to cast this particular figure. Can you tell where the seams are? What do you think this girl is doing?
Location: Memorial Park, near new Tennis and Pickleball Courts
My Dog Has Fleas
This title references the way one tunes guitar strings. Music has been a cultural and familial cornerstone within the Johnson family for generations. Seward believed a crucial exercise of life is singing in the company of others as it is a way to interactively share while creating together. Have you experienced playing a certain chord that instantly pulls listeners and collaborators in?
Location: Memorial Park, near walking path
No, Mommy, That One
The days can be long but the years are short. Which childhood book do you read over and over?
Location: Memorial Park, Secret Garden Playground
Out of Sight
These two brothers set off to find just the right wind to lift their colorful kite aloft. Note the younger boy’s Batman logo t-shirt. Though in awe in that moment, is there also a feeling of loss? of both the wind, and of favorite fantasies of childhood?
Location: Memorial Park
God Bless America
In this piece, Seward Johnson brings to life one of the most famous paintings in American history. Painted in 1930, American Gothic was Grant Woods’ celebration of the moral virtue of hard-working Americans. Has there been a change in perspective since this iconic painting was made? What shifts have occurred?
Location: Patterson Farm, Near Artists of Yardley (Janie Brown House)
For high resolution photos:
For more information about Seward Johnson’s legacy please watch Remembering Seward Johnson
About the artist, visionary, and philanthropist Seward Johnson:
Seward Johnson passed away at the age of 89 on March 10, 2020. “Seward is the artist that everybody loves to hate,” David Levy, director of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, said in 2005, a reference to those who dismiss his work as kitsch. “But quietly and selflessly, he is an enormously important citizen of art.” Seward Johnson was the recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. Other recipients of this award include Magdalena Abakanowicz, Fernando Botero, Louise Bourgeois, Mark di Suvero, Richard Hunt, William King, Manuel Neri, Claes Oldenburg and Jun Kaneko.
Seward Johnson was a visionary, artist and philanthropist that established the Johnson Atelier in Hamilton, NJ in 1974. The Atelier has become a place that produces and preserves works of art and design while creating cultural experiences and expanding artistic possibility. He later went on to create Grounds For Sculpture, a 42-acre nonprofit sculpture park, museum, and arboretum on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds. It has become one of the premier cultural destinations in New Jersey.
For more information about the sculptures or the artist:
Lynn DeClemente Losavio
Program Officer-Johnson Atelier
609-890-7777 ext. 225