Sculptors arrive for Maine Coast Stone Symposium

Posted:  Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 7:45am

At the heart of the Maine Coast Stone Symposium (MCSS) is the 10-day sculpture symposium. The participating artists will be arriving soon and are scheduled to begin work at the Boothbay Railway Village on Friday, Aug. 11 and continue daily to Monday, Aug. 21.

The first sculpture symposium of the modern era was held in Austria in 1959. Since then, sculptors have been gathering at various places around the world to practice their art and to learn from each other and from the symposium setting. In addition to learning new techniques, sculptors gain valuable exposure to different concepts and other cultures. The visiting public is often invited to share this experience and to gain a sense of what it takes to create a sculpture. 

At MCSS, all participating artists will be working with Maine granite supplied by J.C. Stone of Jefferson, Maine. Featured artists are Dick Alden, Lise Becu, David Curry, Mark Herrington, Isabel Kelley, Roy Patterson, Myles Chapin, William Royall, David Sywalski, Dan Ucci, and Andreas von Huene. 

A unique feature is that all the participating artists live in Maine or are from Maine, except for one very special guest. Kama Nagasawa is traveling to Boothbay from his home in Japan. His participation is made possible through the support of the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium.

The opportunity to serve as an apprentice was offered to students at several regional high schools. The artists’ committee selected Sam Betts of East Boothbay and a recent Boothbay Region High School graduate to join them and learn to work with one of the most challenging of all artistic media – stone. Sam will be working directly with several of the artists and will have the opportunity to use a new set of stone working tools gifted to MCSS by Trow & Holden of Barre, Vermont.

Stone sculpture is, by nature, challenging. It’s a subtractive process, meaning that pieces are removed to create forms instead of added such as in clay, glass, and other media. The artists will use hand tools as well as a variety of power tools including those powered by a generator and compressor generously provided by Kennebec Rental, with locations throughout Maine.

The sculptures created during MCSS will all be for sale. Works by these artists are in private and public collections throughout the country. A final special featuring for MCSS is a pop-up gallery under a gorgeous sail cloth tent provided by Marshall Tent & Event Rental of Kittery, Maine. Small works by Mark Herrington, Dick Alden, David Curry and Isabel Kelley will be exhibited and for sale from the 11th through the 21st. 

Artist Talks with Herrington, von Huene and Alden

On Tuesday, Aug. 15 starting at 7 p.m., you are invited to meet Mark Herrington and learn more about his work and the creative process. Mark will take a traditional approach with a slide presentation of his work and time for questions.

On the evening of Thursday, Aug. 17 starting at 7 p.m., both Andreas von Huene and Dick Alden will speak with those interested in learning more about these two fascinating Maine sculptors. Andreas has prepared a special talk specifically about the apparatus and specialized equipment he creates to allow him to push the boundaries of physics with his daring sculptures. Dick Alden came to sculpture full-time after a successful career in banking. He’ll share slides of his work and discuss process and inspiration.

Illustrated Talk with Maine State Geologist

Maine State Geologist Robert Marvinney will present “A Brief History of a Billion Years of Earth Time as Recorded in Maine’s Rocks and Minerals” on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. His presentation will give light to why granite is abundant here in Maine and why our granite is unique and so often sought out by sculptors.

Tour Dragon Cement in Thomaston

Maine’s famous “Lime Coast” ran from Thomaston to Lincolnville, Maine. In 1836 Thomaston was the biggest producer of lime in the United States.  Dragon Products is the last Thomaston operation to quarry limestone and the only remaining large cement production facility in New England. 

As part of MCSS Boothbay Railway Village is offering, through the Thomaston Historical Society, tours of the Dragon Products plant on Monday, Aug. 21. The tours begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and run 2 to 2.5 hours.  During the tour, you will hear about the modern cement manufacturing process starting with the quarrying of limestone.  At the end, there will be a chance to ask questions of managers in the quiet of a conference room where refreshments will be served by the Thomaston Historical Society.

Tickets are $30, discounted to $25 for members of the Thomaston Historical Society or the Boothbay Railway Village.  Space is limited.  This tour involves a lot of walking and climbing stairs.  To make reservations, contact the Thomaston Historical Society at 207-354-2295.

Gala Celebration with the Artists

On the final night of the artists’ residencies there will be a Gala to celebrate their work. Guest will be among the first to see the completed works and have the opportunity to visit with the artists in person.  This elegant evening will be catered by Stone Cove Catering with passed hors d’oeuvres highlighting Maine products including local lobster and crab, Bristol Creamery cheese, Ducktrap Farms smoked salmon, and Pineland Farms steak. The Gala also features cocktails made with Split Rock Distillery spirits, Boothbay Craft Brewery beers, and an oyster bar featuring Glidden Point Oysters. Live music will be provided by Barney Belch and his band. The winners of the Don Justin Meserve sculpture raffle will also be drawn during the celebration. Tickets are $75 each and can be reserved online at or by phone 207-633-4727.

The Maine Coast Stone Symposium is funded in part by an Arts & Humanities Grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maine Humanities Council. It is made possible through the additional support of J.C. Stone, Knickerbocker Group, Maine Media Collective, Marshall Tent & Event Rental, Trow & Holden Company, Swenson Granite Works, Kennebec Equipment Rental, Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium, Split Rock Distillery, Glidden Point Oysters, Stone Cove Catering, and Boothbay Craft Brewery.

All talks will take place inside the 1847 Boothbay Town Hall at the Museum. A donation of $5 is suggested and proceeds will benefit the Museum’s general operating fund. The exhibit, Built with Stone, is open daily through Aug. 31. The exhibit, the sculpture symposium with artists working and any scheduled demonstrations are free with regular Museum admission of $12 adults, $10 seniors, $6 children 3-18, children under 3 and Museum Members are free. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details about any of the programs that make up the Maine Coast Stone Symposium visit or call 207-633-4727.