I first visited Grauland, the Homestead region held by by JimGarand and home (in the sky) to his M-1 Art Pose business in March 2019. At the time, I was immediately struck by its genuine uniqueness, offering an environment that expresses art as a landscape.
Since that time, Jim has continually revised the region on a regular cycle of iterations, some of which have continued that idea of art-as-landscape, others of which might be regarded as more “natural” settings – tropical beaches, oriental gardens, deserts – all of which have been highly engaging and kept me returning to the region to write about many of them.
For the iteration I visited in June, Jim has returned the region to what, for me at least, is its roots – a setting in which art plays an important role in expressing the overall landscape.
Rapidly dropping from eastern highlands marked by a high peak and a curtain of cliffs backed by high mountains, the region is immediately visually engaging; the peak giving birth to falls that in turn feed the streams that break up the lowlands as they flow out to the surrounding waters.
Rugged and attractive, with western and northern bays watched over by a ranger’s watchtower to the north-west, two tidy woodland areas and a scattering of buildings, the landscape is highly photogenic. However, it is what is to be found within it that captures the eye.
From obelisks through the familiar concrete blocks to statues, tiered gardens and totems, the art to be found throughout the region fits neatly and elegantly into the setting, bringing it naturally to life.
As an art park, the setting is laid out as a place one travel to in order to visit: the landing point is presented as a cark park, the road running from it vanishing into a tunnel that appears to pass under the mountains to connect the part with the rest of the world. It sits bounded on two sides by the remnants of what might have once been a complete costal fortification built during the last world war, but which now stand with gaping windows and walls that have in part started to lean somewhat as their foundations have settled.
Forming the entrance to the park, the great blanks walls of this ruin also naturally lend themselves as a part of the park’s artistic statement, providing access to the tiered gardens that form the starting point for explorations.
From the gardens with their cobbled paths, visitors can roam where they please – as indicated by the static characters already in the region that add a further sense of it being a a popular place to visit. A single path does offer a route from the landing point, one that passes over the region’s three bridges – which also very much form part of the art statement. These bridges lead the way to the largest complete building on the region, a boxy unit offered as something of a meeting / relaxing space.
Jim’s designs are always engaging and a pleasure to visit, but I admit to finding this iteration particularly engaging. There’s that sense of returning to the focus of early iterations of the region whilst retaining a completely unique look and feel.
With photographic opportunities can be found throughout, and the 3D art elements bringing a richness to the environment that encourages the visitor to remain, explore and appreciate, Grauland Falls Art Park is not to be missed.
- Grauland Falls Art Park (Mobile, rated Adult)