This incredible project is the brainchild of lawyer Anthony Grant, an avid collector of all things art-related. And by all things, I mean everything from oddly-shaped boulders to delicate Picasso lithographs, and from Italian cherubs to enormous pink plastic snails.
Anthony explains that one of the main goals of Sculptureum is to inspire people to add a touch of art to their own gardens.
“It might be a little ornament that adds a touch of colour and life to an otherwise ordinary spot in the garden,” Anthony says. “Or it could be a rock formation that captures the imagination with its unusual shape.”
Sculptureum has three outdoor gardens—The Garden of Creative Diversity and The Palm Garden, one enclosed outdoor garden—The Pink Snail Garden, and six indoor galleries.
The Garden of Creative Diversity
Visitors begin in The Garden of Creative Diversity where sculptures range from classical Italian fountains to a towering yellow flower made from plastic buckets and life-sized elephants created from driftwood
These extremes in art styles reflects Anthony’s philosophy on art—that just because a piece doesn’t fit the conventional standards of ‘gallery art’, it can still inspire, enthuse, and entertain.
And after all, isn’t that what art is all about?
This philosophy is well summed up in one of the many inspirational quotes featured throughout the garden: “Normality is a paved road, it’s comfortable to walk on, but no flowers grow on it.” The quote by van Gogh is one of Anthony’s favourites and one he clearly lives by.
The Palm Garden
Brimming with palms, the winding path of The Palm Garden takes visitors through a tropical forest-like setting with colourful and quirky sculptures and displays dotted throughout, from tiny ceramic birds to a giant concrete hippopotamus.
The garden also has many delicate Borowski glass works on display, including Croco, Fat Gonzo, Pavo the peacock, and Big Bird.
The Pink Snail Garden
As its name implies, this garden is home to some impressively large pink snails—a guaranteed favourite with the kids and grandchildren.
The garden also houses a wonderful array of other vibrant and playful pieces, including huge green rabbits, colourful meerkats, and Nike-wearing alligators. There are also tanks full of curious turtles and an additional aviary with colourful parrots.
If you fancy a bit of a sit-down, you can take a seat next to a life-size statue of Mark Twain and take in the view of the huge white polar bear made from used whiteware parts.
The inside galleries
Sculptureum has several indoor galleries that display works from all over the world. These are themed by glass, art, figurative works, recycled materials, animals, modern abstract in plastics, and other materials.
Each of the gallery pieces has a special significance to Anthony, from the black and white clown lithograph by Chagall to the cable-tie sea urchins by New Zealand artist Andi Regan.
The jewel in the crown of Sculptureum, and taking pride of place in a gallery of its own, is a huge glass installation by renowned American glass artist Dale Chihuly.
The piece—a stunning orange and blue chandelier that appears to represent a giant sea creature—was shipped over from the US at no small expense.
Plan your visit
- Sculptureum is open on weekends but closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
- There are options to visit all the galleries and gardens or selected ones at a reduced price. I definitely recommend the entire experience and allow at least an hour and a half to do so.
- Sculptureum has its own restaurant, Rothko, which also serves Sculptureum’s award-winning wine.
- Discounts are available for Gold Card holders and children, and both age groups are sure to enjoy the experience equally.
- There’s plenty more to do and see in Matakana, making a visit to Sculptureum part of a fantastic holiday, weekend away, or a day trip.
- Pricing and further information is available at on their website.