Roadside Art Online: Art Environments

A selection of great art environments from the American roadside: over the top, deeply personal and intensely creative

Roadside art: Emory Blagdon's Healing Machines
Emory Blagdon’s magnificent Healing Machines, as shown at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wis.

Coral Castle outsider art environment
The Coral Castle

Roadside art: 3 Vernacular Art Cars
3 Vernacular Art Cars

Howard Finster Art Show
Howard Finster’s incomparable garden

Miami's Bottle Cap Inn
Joe Wiser’s Bottle Cap Inn in Miami was featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, but more importantly it was a triumph of an obsessive personal vision.

Wisconsin art environments
Wisconsin art environments
Wisconsin doesn’t have a lock on visionary creations or outsider art. But per square mile, the quality and number of its roadside art environments are unmatched.

Eddie Owens Martin, or St. Eom, had all the makings of a crackpot, but his creation, Pasaquan, embodies an implausibly compelling spirituality.

Margaret's Grocery environment
If you took the cutoff from Highway 61 into Vicksburg, Miss., and had need of 1. sundries, 2. spiritual uplift or 3. a powerful folk-art environment, you could stop at Margaret’s Groceries. The Rev. H.D. Dennis, who encased the country store inside and out with his sculpture and fantastic architecture, would preach you a personal sermon while his wife Margaret stood ready to meet your earthly needs.

W.C. Rice environment: Sin, souls hypocrites in hell
There are few views more stunning than the one W.C. Rice gave drivers on a back road near Prattville, Ala., northwest of Montgomery. His messages were uncompromising, his imagery frightening in its starkness.

Shaking stumps E.T. Wickham's environment
E.T. Wickham’s environment in northern Tennessee is mostly in ruins, but it retains a spooky eloquence.

Pinwheel environment
Pinwheels, whirlygigs and old oil bottles — store-bought kitsch — become a highly personal garden around a trailer on Highway 51, north of Cairo, Ill.

A pique assiette folk-art fence tucked away in Chicago’s Bowmanville neighborhood.