Sculptors’ garden

Jana Lawton

Photo By Tom Angel

Jana and David Lawton are local art buffs who moved to California in 1986 from the Midwest. They believe in living simply and have dedicated their lives to sculpting. The couple, who are married, say they don’t believe in television and spend their time sculpting, volunteering at the Chico Art Center, where David is on the board of directors, and trying to bring love of art into the community. They are involved in coordinating the Open Studios Art Tour, the Chico World Music Festival and the open art gallery for A Taste of Chico. Three years ago they began to transform their back yard into a sculpture garden in which they combine their art with a garden of plants and flowers. It is located at 1112 Bidwell Ave. and is open to the public. The Lawtons have dedicated their lives to their passion and are eager to share it with their community. The following interview was with Jana Lawton during a tour of her garden.

How did the two of you get into sculpting?

It was our major in college. That’s where we met, a long time ago!

Do you have a lot of visitors at the sculpture garden?

I think it’s going develop by word of mouth. We’re not that hard sell. If people want to buy something, that’s fine, and if not, that’s fine too. Our kids can figure out what to do with it when we’re gone.

What made the two of you get involved in the community?

When we lived in Iowa we never were. We still made art, but we were living out in the country and planting our own vegetables. Once we realized how fun it was to interact with other artists, we realized that was what we were missing. It’s really rewarding.

What were you trying to achieve by developing the garden?

We were trying to incorporate sculpture into the plants and the garden. It used to be an auto repair shop, a really long time ago, so we used that to our advantage. We made a pond to show water sculpture from holes where cars used to park on top of to get their oil changed. The only disadvantage is that it’s right on Highway 32, so it’s a little bit noisy!