A Painting in Topiary

Wouldn’t it be really cool to walk into a painting and be a part of it? You could check things out three-dimensionally to see what the other side looks like.

How about a famous painting? Let’s say, for example, Georges Seurat’s 1887 A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte, which is a depiction of people gathering on a Sunday afternoon at the Seine River in Paris. The original is shown at the Art Institute of Chicago. But the version in downtown Columbus, Ohio offers a totally different experience.

In downtown Columbus’ Old Deaf School Park, artist James T. Mason created the only topiary garden in existence based on a work of art. Elaine Mason was the first of many topiarists to trim and meticulously maintain the living topiaries of 54 people, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey, and a cat. The seven-acre sanctuary is not only a destination for art and nature lovers, but it is perfect for picnics, walks, playing board games, or even tossing a little Frisbee.

Take a stroll to the top of the hill overlooking the masterpiece. There, you’ll see a bronze easel and picture of the original painting by Seurat, who invented the technique of pointillism, using dots of color to create light. Take a step back and see the 3-D version of the picture unveil itself before your very eyes. The tallest topiary is 12-feet. This provides depth from the vantage point atop the hill to keep all the figures in proportion as seen in the bronze relief.

Walk around the landscape and take pictures. Roll out a blanket and catch a nap. Play Frisbee with your dog. This park is everything a park should be. It is meant for a lazy afternoon. Find a shade tree or tall topiary and be still. The breeze, the birds, the flowers will all take hold as you breathe deeper until you feel cleansed.

The park and Topiary Garden are always free and open daily from dawn to dusk. You may enter at 480 E. Town Street, which is a block south of the Columbus Museum of Art. More information is available by calling 614-645-0197 or clicking here.

The neighborhood around has beautiful grand old mansions with lovely architecture. But to park on the street requires feeding the meter unless it’s an evening or a Sunday afternoon.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler – Your Tour Guide to Fun

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