Monthly Archives: July 2003

Shangri-La can be found, not where you'd expect it, but in North Carolina.

"Henry L. Warren was a retired tobacco farmer who kept building this collection of 27 leprechaun-sized creations until his death at age 84 (in about 1977).

Shangri-La was conceived by Henry in 1968. The first few buildings were constructed in his side yard next to his house, and the miniature town kept growing. At the same time, he used his creative energy to incorporate 11,000 arrowheads into the walkways of his home."

Although the official website describes it simply as "a folk art environment", The Orange Show is rather more. Begun in the 1960s and opened to the public in 1979, the Show was intended by creator Jefferson Davis McKissack as an amusement park themed around healthy living, exemplified by the orange. Sadly, McKissack died soon after the Show opened, but it lives on through the efforts of The Orange Show Foundation. Their mission is to "preserve, present, promote and popularize the extraordinary artistic expressions of ordinary people"; among other things, they maintain a library and archive of folk and outsider art, and run the annual Art Car Show.

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In about 1940, Edward James left England, to find himself situated in Xilitla, Mexico. There he built the startling environment known as Las Pozas.

"It is said that while bathing in the pools at Las Pozas, Edward saw a cloud of butterflies come down toward him through the canyon, their thickness momentarily cutting off the rays of the sun - Edward saw this incredible spectacle of fluttering wings as a sign that this was to be his home and thereafter set about to transform Las Pozas into his Enchanted Garden."