Sculpture garden gets official unveiling today

The garden’s grand opening is set for noon to 4 p.m.
Thursday, July 9, 2009 4:48 PM EDT
by John Tredrea, Staff Writer,

Richard Butterfoss, curator of the sculpture garden that opens today (July 9) at the Straube Center in Pennington. With Mr. Butterfoss is Seward Johnson’s sculpture, “Holier Than Thou.” Photo by John Tredrea

This one has the feel of the spirit of Renaissance-era Florence, Italy, somehow alighting 600 years later in Pennington. It has Win Straube filling in for a scion of the Medici family and Richard Butterfoss as the connoisseur picked by Straube/Medici to make this latest brainchild on behalf of the visual arts — a sculpture garden at the edge of a small town — a success.

The garden’s grand opening is set for noon to 4 p.m. today, Thursday. If you can’t make it to that event, you can see the garden by looking west while riding, or better still, walking, on Bixby’s Way.

That short street — named for the late Ezra Bixby, a legendarily irascible and insightful Pennington Borough councilman — runs between Broemel Place and West Franklin Avenue. Mr. Bixby was a true individual if ever there was one and somehow quite clearly a bit of a work of art himself.

Several sculptures were installed last week at the intersection of Bixby’s Way and the road into the Straube Center, a complex of offices run by Win Straube. A lover of the visual arts, Mr. Straube has been running a annual art show at the center. One of those shows is under way now. Mr. Straube recently decided to add a sculpture garden.

Mr. Straube knew just who to call about being curator of his sculpture garden. That’s Mr. Butterfoss — sculpture aficionado, award-winning producer of films about sculptors, retired high school teacher, former Pennington Borough councilman and retired member of the Pennington First Aid Squad, of which he was an active member for nearly 40 years.

”There’s never been publicly displayed sculpture in Pennington before, at least not like this,” Mr. Butterfoss said last week as he worked with Gyuri Hollosy to set up “Holier Than Thou,” a sculpture by Seward Johnson that will be on display at the sculpture garden.

Mr. Hollosy is a sculptor, too, and his work will be at the garden as well, along with pieces by Dane Stewart, Carole Furman, Harry Gordon, Rory Mahon and other artists.

Mr. Butterfoss is a big booster of Grounds for Sculpture, in nearby Hamilton.

”We now have a taste of Grounds for Sculpture right here in town,” he said.

The sculptures on display at the garden will change. That’s because everything on display there will be for sale.

”Mr. Straube is taking no commissions,” Mr. Butterfoss said admiringly. “All proceeds of all sales go to the artist.”


One Straube Center Blvd • Pennington, NJ 08534 • Phone: 609-737-3322 • E-mail:
Straube Center Boulevard surrounded by Route 31, West Franklin Ave., Knowles Ave.-Bixby’s Way, and Broemel Place