Monumental Garden Sculptures
Species of Rare Tropical Palms and Cycads
Works of Art
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens comprise the former residence of sculptor Ann Weaver Norton (1905 -1982), the widow of Ralph Hubbard Norton. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the two acre property, featuring a collection of 250 species of tropical palms, lies near downtown West Palm Beach on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Displayed throughout the house, studio and gardens are more than 100 works by the artist, including nine monumental sculptures, eight in brick and one in granite. The Gardens were designed by Ann Norton and Sir Peter Smithers. The largest tract of garden containing the great brick sculptures, is designed in a natural, unmanicured style. The experience of coming across Norton’s mysterious monoliths as surprises in their lush green jungle-like setting is akin to discovering another world.
Now operated as a 501 (c)(3)foundation supported by an open public membership and an elected Board of Trustees, the Gardens offer a schedule of exhibitions by recognized artists in an intimate residential setting.
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, Inc. is an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) operating foundation established in 1977 by the prominent sculptor Ann Weaver Norton (1905-1982). The organization is devoted to exhibiting works of other artists, preserving the founder’s studio and displaying her monumental sculptures in a secluded urban preserve where a notable collection of rare palms is continually being developed.
The Gardens & Monumental Sculptures
Ann Norton’s monumental, silent, mysterious sculptures built in situ over a period of 15 years were intended to be discovered as surprises amidst the dense, jungle-like vegetation. The Gardens, designed by world-renowned botanist Sir Peter Smithers as a rare palm garden, represent Ann’s commitment to conservation and the preservation of a quiet retreat in the midst of a burgeoning city. The Gardens’ assemblage of over 250 rare palm species, cycads and unusual tropicals is recognized as one of the largest public collections in Florida. It is a rare gift to experience the union of this powerful art and the naturalness of the landscape.
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The Artist Studio
Created over four decades, Ann Norton’s works in bronze, stone and wood inhabit the studio like a forest alluring the visitor to explore and feel her artistic spirit. Guests are greeted by larger than life models, armatures, and studies that evolved into her monumental works in granite and brick found throughout the gardens.
Ann’s northern cedar wooden structures are profoundly modern yet evoke a time forgotten. She selected the material often used by the Indians of the Northwest for their totem poles. As she noted in an article in the New York Times in 1978, “I use everything – the cracks in the wood, the knots, and the gnarls. I like my work to flow together with nature.”
The Norton House & Gallery
Located in the El Cid Historic Neighborhood of West Palm Beach, with expansive views of the Intracoastal Waterway, the home was designed in 1925 by well-known architect Maurice Fatio and features coquina pathways, pecky cypress ceilings and beautiful gardens. In 1935 Norton Museum of Art founders, Ralph and Elizabeth Norton, purchased the home and selected Marion Sims Wyeth to redesign it in the Monterey Revival Style as seen today. In 1948, the widowed Ralph Norton married Ann Weaver, sculptor instructor at the Norton Museum. That same year Norton invited Wyeth to design Ann’s studio. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Educational & Community Events
It was Ann Weaver Norton’s (1905-1982) specific intention that her historic home, artist studio and rare palm gardens be left for the enjoyment and education of the community. Educational programs include:
- Art and Healthy Hearts
- Literacy Days
- Earth Day
- Garden Day
- Annie V. Visits
Plan your visit today!
Historic Home, Artist Studio and Rare Palm Gardens!
The former residence of famed sculptor Ann Weaver Norton (1905-1982) and her husband, Ralph, ANSG boasts more than 250 tropical plants and 100 different sculptures and works of art.