Rock talk and Sculpture Boothbay

Wed, 07/08/2020 - 12:00pm

Sculpture Boothbay, formerly known as the Boothbay Harbor Region Sculpture Trail, was formed this spring. Its board of advisers – Bill Royall, Patricia Royall (curator and coordinator), Andreas von Huene, Dan Ucci and Dick Alden, the latter two members of the Maine Stoneworkers Guild board of directors – have been involved with the region’s sculpture trail since the beginning. All of the advisers except Patrica Royall are stone sculptors with work on the trail.

Bill Royall spearheaded bringing a sculpture trail to the region. The trail is modeled after the Greater Meredith, New Hampshire Sculpture Walk. Royall’s sculptures have been included in the New Hampshire Walk, created five years earlier than the Boothbay Region’s.

On his way back from an installation in Meredith three years ago, Royall stopped in to see his cousin, Patricia Royall, who was executive director at Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce (BHRCC) then. Patricia, having had a few art galleries in the past, loved the idea.

The Maine Coast Stone Symposium was held at Boothbay Railway Village in 2017. Well-known stone sculpture artists, most of whom were members of Maine Stoneworkers Guild, created new pieces, on site, for one week. The work created during that Symposium became the first pieces of the region’s sculpture trail unveiled in June 2018. From that point on, the idea was to use work created at the symposium as a feeder program for the trail. Symposiums would be held every other year.

In 2019, the symposium became the Maine Stone Symposium, produced thanks to a partnership between BHRCC and Maine Stone Workers Guild. The symposium that year was also moved to the Boothbay Common. The work created during this symposium were among the auction items in the Points of View Auction, Boothbay Region Land Trust’s annual fundraiser. And most of the sculptures were sold at the auction.

Sculptures on the Trail were to stay installed for two years and then be moved around – just to keep things fresh – and add new ones. All of the sculptures then, and now, are for sale. All of the proceeds go to the artist.

This is year two for the Trail, now under the umbrella of Sculpture Boothbay, and it’s  time to freshen things up. The artists whose work has been exhibited since 2018 are: Andreas von Huene, Miles Chapin, Jaclyn Bonzagni, Chris Lewis, Roger Milinowski, the late Don Meserve, Dick Alden, Lance Carlezon, Mitch S. Billis, Jay Sawyer, Lise Becu, Dan Ucci, Sam Betts, Isabel Catherine Kelley and Bill Royall. Valary Mahuchy’s “Fish” that was installed at the Greenleaf Inn was not replaced with another of his works.

Some of these sculptures will be moved to the three new locations on the Trail: Union Court (neear Mama D’s), Seagate, and Ocean Point Inn.

A new sculpture was added to the Trail last week at McKown Square. It’s an 8-foot piece by Dale Rogers called “The Dog.” There could not be a more perfect location, adjacent to Two Salty Dogs. Bill Royall met Rogers (and the “dog”) at an event and Royall knew he had to contact Two Salty Dogs owners Don and Liana Kingsbury about it.

“It was the perfect location,” Royall said. “This is what we do, work with the site holders and sculptors … it’s like putting a puzzle together connecting the art and the location. It’s a challenge to fit things together.”

More ground shaking action of the relocation variety will continue over the next few weeks. A Chris Lewis sculpture will be moved from the Chamber to Tugboat Inn; Bill Royal’s sculpture now at Tugboat Inn will be moved to Ocean Point Inn, for starters.

This year, despite moving sculptures and adding a few new ones, last year’s Trail map will be used again – with an insert indicating new locations and new work in 2020. Patricia Royall said Sculpture Boothbay will generate income through advertisers on the trail map, beginning with the 2021 map, and sculpture sponsors.

“We are trying to support local sculptors and business. The trail is open all year – and with everything going on in the world now – it’s easy to maintain the 6-foot distancing,” Bill Royall said. “Last summer people were coming – sometimes in buses – for the sculpture. Then they’ll have lunch somewhere, maybe buy something at one of the stores … the trail helps to draw people to the Region.”

In the future, the advisers hope to collaborate with nonprofits, such as Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and BRLT with events and workshops; and to support sculpture programs. This is what both Royalls call Sculpture Boothbay’s broader mission.

“Next year we plan to send out a call to artists nationwide in January or February next year,” Patricia Royall said. “We really want to open it up. We have more places that want sculpture than we have sculptures right now. Every time we install a sculpture, another business or site owner asks to have one at their location.”

Sculpture Boothbay will be taking over the Boothbay Harbor Region Sculpture Trail website and Facebook page soon.