Big Folk Art exhibits seem to be popping up all around the US. In the past couple of years, Ruth & I have been to Houston’s Smither and Eclectic Menagerie Parks, the Tinkertown Museum on the east side of Sandia Peak near Albuquerque, the Mystery Castle south of Phoenix, and the fading Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. I have written about all of these. There’s an actual Folk Art Park in Atlanta, GA, a Coral Castle in Homestead, FL that may blow away soon, something called the Forevertron in Sumpter, WI, and the Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS. These I have yet to visit, but they all sound goofy and interesting. I recently saw Schaefer’s Auto Art on Hershey Road near Erie, PA on a cold, snowy, blustery spring day. If you’re ever in the area, check it out.
Schaefer’s Auto Art has been around for more than 25 years. Atlas Obscura, my source of info about it, calls it unusual, out of the ordinary, and an unconventional sculpture garden. It is all three. Welder and fabricator Richard Schaefer created this roadside park. It’s free and you can just leave your car along the road and wander around it for as long as it lasts.
There’s a clever Volkswagen spider, a monstrous black and yellow bug made from an unidentifiable car, a 40 foot red and white rocket, a dilapidated, leaning police car, and several more sculptures. My favorite is the cute, 2-headed dinosaur. I hope that Richard’s creative juices keep flowing and that he continues to make these playful creations, but I suspect that Schaefer’s Auto Art won’t last as long as, say, Smither Park. See Schaefer’s handiwork before his vehicles are either hauled to a museum or a junkyard.