Springfield’s Hartman Rock Garden gets $75,000 Ruth Foundations for the Arts grant

The grant comes from the Foundation’s Legacy Fund, a funding pool for projects of significance to Kohler.

“We have had tremendous support from so many philanthropic partners,” said Rose. “This will help fill in some gaps.”

Hartmann, a folk art garden in a residential neighborhood in southwest Springfield, will receive more than 13,000 visitors in 2022, most of them from March to October, Rose said. Garden uses new technology with motion sensors to help track attendees.

Attendance continued to be strong during the pandemic, as unlike other attractions, the gardens are outdoors, allowing visitors to properly distance themselves from each other. Interest in gardens has also grown over the past decade, thanks to websites such as Atlas Obscura that have compiled unique locations for curious travelers.

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People have traveled from all over the country and the world to roam the rock gardens. Rose said he has spoken to visitors from India, Japan and Russia.

The Depression-era Rock Garden is known for its floral sculptures, fountains and fishing ponds. The art was created by his HG Ben Hartman who constructed each piece by hand using materials such as concrete, stone, metal and glass.

According to Rose, Hartman was first and foremost a gardener and had many flowers in his garden before his death in 1944. A large group of volunteers work to keep the tradition alive.

“Maintaining, weeding and planting all the flowers each year is a labor of love,” Rose said.

Several large-scale projects will be unveiled at the garden in the summer, Rose said.

For more information on Hartman Rock Gardens, visit http://hartmanrocks.org/.

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