South Mountain Reservation

South Mountain Recreation Complex

The South Mountain Recreation Complex is nestled along Northfield Avenue and Cherry Lane in West Orange. The complex features a variety of recreation opportunities including Turtle Back Zoo, Codey Arena, Mini-GOLF Safari, the children’s Regatta Playground, Paddleboating, a 1.7 mile walkway, and the Clipper Pavilion picnic shelter.

South Mountain Dog Park

The South Mountain Dog Park in Essex County South Mountain Reservation, opened in July 2006, is located in a portion of an old deer paddock. The two-acre facility is divided into two sections – 1.3 acres for large dogs and 0.7 acres for small dogs. Both areas have a crushed stone and compacted stone dust surface, dual drinking fountains, park benches, agility equipment for the dogs, a wash and spray area, “time out” sections for dogs, and DogiPot stations. At the entrance to the Dog Park is a memorial honoring emergency service dogs that lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 tragedies. There also are a steel portico, ornamental concrete pavers, and an informal path around the perimeter of the complex where owners can walk their dogs on a leash.

Wildflower Sculpture Park

This park feature was founded by South Mountain Conservancy member, Tricia Zimic and opened November 2012. “The original reason for the sculpture park was to lure visitors into the Wildflower Preserve which is a short distance from the sculpture park,” says Zimic.

Since then, the park has taken on it’s own meaning and is thriving with 4 new sculptures added this year. Each year the Wildflower Sculpture Park transforms itself with new works. The park gives artists a chance to expose their work and expand on ideas in a much larger format. The sculpture park is located in front of the dog park in South Mountain Reservation in Essex County, New Jersey.

For more information on artist participation visit the Call for Artists.

Sculptures Currently On View

Willie Cole
Just Add Water

While “JUST ADD WATER” is a perfect example of art imitating nature it also serves a rye commentary on the rapid growth and abundance of disposable waste in our environment. Over the past 30 years he has had major exhibitions in museums and cultural institutions’ around the world including:  The Museum of Modern Art in NY, the Metropolitan Museum in NY, and the Montclair Museum in NJ. Willie Cole lives and works in NJ.


Ben Pranger
South Mountain Bird Tower

“SOUTH MOUNTAIN BIRD TOWER” is large structure made from industrial materials (concrete and steel) that could potentially function as a bird habitat.

Ben Pranger has shown his work throughout the U.S., including solo exhibitions at Perimeter Gallery (IL), MWMWM (IL), Kohler Art Center (WI), Second St. Gallery (VA), and Gallery Aferro (NJ). Pranger’s work has been reviewed in publications such as Artforum, Art in America, ArtNews and Art Papers. He has participated in artist residencies at Kohler Art/Industry, Fine Arts Work Center of Provincetown, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Program, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has received sculpture grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the New Jersey Council for Art. He has taught at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Hollins University in Virginia, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 


Donna Conklin King

“RESTORE” is inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi (golden repair). I am symbolically honoring the restoration of the land in the Preserve through the creation of a golden fissure in the earth. The fissure connects the trees on each side of the fence, and either emerges from the ground or returns to it, serving to remind us of the cycle of life and our responsibility to care for the land we live on.

Raised in New Jersey, Donna Conklin King is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Essex County, NJ. Her work explores a personal narrative, using art as a mechanism to give voice to the human condition. Environmentally conscious, her work often repurposes household objects such as Porcelain Tchotchkes, broken China, food containers and dryer lint. King’s Drawing and Printmaking work is in many public and private book collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Newark Public Library, and the National Portrait Gallery Artist’s Book Collections. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of Art, a BS in Studio Art from Skidmore College and a Fellowship from the State Arts Council of NJ.

Lester James Johnson
Balls in Cage: Totem One and Two

Transformation and Metamorphosis of nature is my intention. I carve from wood I find locally in the community to create an imaginative abstract form that will elude the spirit and beauty of nature. These two sculptures were created from found trees. The carving took a substantial amount of meditative time to ‘unleash’ the ball inside.

Lester James Johnson was born in Johnsonville, South Carolina. Johnson participated in many group and individual art shows in the tri-state area since 1972, where he received numerous first place awards in sculpting. Johnson participated in two videos, one produced by Al Clarke for City Without Walls, and a second, “The Healing Art,” produced by the Artists for Mental Health. Johnson’s art style is self-described as ”living outside the box.”