The Maine Stone Symposium is well under way on the Boothbay Common. The artists have come from across Maine and from as far away as Japan to create works of art from Maine granite and other stone while they learn from each other and share their craft with the public. The event is organized by members of the Maine Stone Workers Guild and led by Guild Treasurer Dick Alden of East Boothbay. Alden estimated opening weekend attendance at easily 400 plus guests of all ages.
According to Alden, “Symposiums are powerful experiences for us as artists, we teach each other new techniques and also provide valuable critiques. It’s also fun for all of us to interact with visitors. Most of our studios and work spaces are places where we are isolated, these events energize us.”
As the Symposium was getting under way last weekend, there was one major disappointment. Artist Vasilis Vasili of Halifax, Nova Scotia had been stopped at the border in St. Stephen on Wednesday and denied entry into the US. Organizers called on U.S. Senator Angus King, a great supporter of arts and culture, to see if his staff might be able to help. It turned out there was misunderstanding about whether or not participating in an unpaid Symposium was, in fact, work for an artist. After days of effort by the Senator’s staff, Alden & Vasili agreed there just wasn’t enough time left to start the consulate process over again. Both extended gratitude to Sharon Campbell of King’s Presque Isle office for her assistance in understanding what went wrong and trying to get Vasili an opportunity to still come to Maine.
Vasili was not deterred and is now working on a new sculpture at home in Halifax in tandem with the Symposium. One of the other participants, Mark Herrington of Franklin, Maine pointed out, “of all the symposiums I’ve participate in and heard of I think this might be the first one where artists were working simultaneously across borders.” Updates on Vasili’s project are posted daily along with those being created in Boothbay on the Sculpture Boothbay Facebook page.
Each sculptor selected their own stone, most through J.C.Stone of Jefferson, which is also a leading sponsor of the event along with Knickerbocker Group, Midcoast Hospitality, Down East Magazine, Bath Savings Institution, and dozens of additional businesses and individuals.
The granite and other stone vary in color from shades of red, grey, gold, pink and black. Some artists are working on pieces that are small enough to enjoy inside your home, others are scaled for gardens and landscapes.
Many of the sculptures will be offered for sale during the Boothbay Region Land Trust’s Points of View Art Auction on Thursday, August 8. Tickets are on sale for this event on bbrlt.org or by calling 633-4818.
Admission to the Maine Stone Symposium is free. The event is located on the Boothbay Common and continues daily through Sunday, Aug. 4. Visitor hours are officially from 10 - 4 daily, leaving some time for the artists to work uninterrupted. There are colorful commemorative guides with profiles of all the artists available, with a suggested donation of $5.
For more information visit sculptureboothbay.org