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Newspaper articles:

Romano Gabriel's Folk Art Triumph

Maple Creek Students

NorthCoast Dance

Additional Eureka Heritage Society Website pages:

Romano Gabriel Garden History

The Facelift

Boy Scout Project


Map of Sculpture Garden Location

The Wooden Sculpture Garden of
Romano Gabriel

Eureka's Folk Art Treasure to Get a Facelift

After the death of Romano Gabriel, the sculpture garden which he created and assembled in the front garden of his Pine Street home sat as a curiosity with its fate uncertain. Realizing its merit, the Vellutini family of Eureka purchased the entire wooden sculpture garden as a gift for the City of Eureka. Through the efforts of various individuals and foundations, the sculpture garden was installed in its custom-built "storefront structure" at 314 Second Street. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Trump and Sauble. The installation of the folk art garden, to closely approximate the original set-up, was under the direction of then Oakland Museum designer, Ted Cohen. Opening dedication was April 3, 1982. Since that time, the Eureka Heritage Society has been the designated group responsible for the welfare and upkeep of the sculpture garden and it continues to thrive. However, like most gardens, in order to capture and hold the interest of the viewer, it needs the occasional renewal. After a recent evaluation, the group has decided a facelift of sorts is badly needed. We feel the site is underutilized, often going unnoticed and ignored. Plans have been drawn to correct the visibility and attention-getting aspects of the space by improving on the current information sheet and signage. Improvements are also being planned for the "park space" in front of the building, to include shrubbery and benches. We hope to encourage visitors to visit the exhibit while preserving and maintaining the importance of this internationally recognized folk art installation. Work should start soon on the proposed changes with a facade grant to be provided by Eureka Main Street. The Sculpture Garden continues to be of interest to the art world. In a recent letter from the Chief Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum, a request has been made to include examples of Romano Gabriel's work in an upcoming comprehensive exhibit of California's "Outsider" artists, primitive and folk artists and builders of folk art environments. The Oakland Museum regards Eureka's Romano Gabriel as a major contributor to the genre of folk art. Suitable examples will be loaned to the museum which will help preserve the legacy of the Sculpture Garden and bring renewed interest to the Eureka installation. ---- Carol Hale