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Winner of two 2013 Emmy Awards from the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

Today in Georgia History
is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.

October 22

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Howard Finster

October 22, 2001 - Chattooga County, Atlanta

Howard Finster saw things; he literally had visions. They inspired him to create a universe of unusual paintings, sculptures, and drawings. A self-taught folk artist and preacher, he became one of the most important creative artists of the twentieth century.

Finster was born in 1916 in Valley Head, Alabama, one of 14 children. He saw his first religious vision at age three, and started preaching in his teens. He moved to Chattooga County, Georgia in 1937, to spend the rest of his life preaching and creating art.

In 1961, Finster began his most famous work, Paradise Gardens. He turned rescued trash into religious works like the Mirror House and Hubcap Tower, along with historical and cultural figures from George Washington to Elvis.

By the early 1980s his work had become famous, he made album covers for REM and the Talking Heads, and appeared on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.”

His work filled hundreds of exhibitions, including a permanent display at the High Museum in Atlanta. Howard Finster’s studio created more than 46,000 pieces of art by the time he died on October 22, 2001, Today in Georgia History. 

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Fast Fact

The band REM shot the video for their debut single, "Radio Free Europe," in Finster's Paradise Gardens.