CH sculpture garden reopens for annual tour

A partial view of Fred Gearhart's sculptures in his Cleveland Heights garden. (Photo: Fred Gearhart)

For 12 years, Cleveland Heights artist Fred Gearhart has opened his studio and sculpture garden to visitors. Cancelled last year due to the coronavirus shutdown, the annual event returns on Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30, 1–7 p.m. This show attracts many Heights residents, as well as visitors from throughout the region, and is intended to provide enjoyment and respite on the Memorial Day weekend.

Gearhart has been a productive sculptor, working for 36 years in his home studio at 1609 Rydalmount Road. Because he works mostly in stone, the studio area is outdoors. Many finished pieces are on display on the property, ranging from fist-sized to 10 feet tall.

Subject matter includes figures and faces, abstract art, and functional work, such as fountains, birdbaths and bud vases. Some pieces are memory pieces about his life.

“Many people enjoy the humorous stone faces,” said Gearhart. “Browsers are welcome. I want my friends and neighbors to enjoy seeing what I make.” 

Garden lovers will also enjoy the landscaping on the property, which has been designed and executed by Molly Zimmerman, Gearhart’s wife, who is also an artist.

“When we moved here in 1978,” recalled Zimmerman, “lawn, weeds and a small vegetable garden filled the lot. We added perennial beds and they continue to change.”

This year and last Rebecca West, owner of New Leaf Garden Services of Cleveland Heights, has been working with Gearhart and Zimmerman on the garden’s maintenance and evolution.

The more than 200 sculptures will be labeled with title, medium, and price, if for sale. Visitors will also have a chance to see Gearhart's carving tools, and even take a whack at a piece of limestone.

This outdoor event will be held rain or shine. Visitors are expected to wear masks, and maintain social distancing. For additional information, contact Gearhart by phone, at 216-904-0255.

Susie Maurer

Susie Maurer is a residential landscape designer catering to the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. A lover of sculpture and gardens, she is a neighbor of Gearhart and Zimmerman, and is currently pursuing her volunteer master gardener certification through The Ohio State University Extension Program.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:04 AM, 04.30.2021