Where It’s At ... Boothbay Harbor Region Sculpture Trail

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 1:00pm

My one and only trip out west, in February of 1995 to Utah (the Tuscon/Bisbee/Phoenix areas of Arizona were also part of the trip), introduced me to some awe-inspiring rock formations at Canyonlands and Arches National Park. Sculpted by Mother Nature, those sandstone arches and rocks alternately made me feel like I was on the set of a science fiction film or that I had indeed been transported to another planet. And those of you who’ve been there know what I mean.

Arches is aces for one’s imagination! One grouping of nature’s sculptures resembles aliens gathered together talking about the humans wandering about; giant crevices in stone “walls” both intrigued and kind of freaked me out. Yet, other sections were reminiscent of the remains of ancient civilizations ... but those arches! Of all widths and sizes the arches captivate, stimulate, and often frame some of the most exquisite views within the park … Although for someone like myself with acrophobia, those “primitive” trails … narrow ridges sans railings (or anything to steady the nerves) led to awesome views and arches but, hey, that’s what photographs are for and my companion on the trip had no trouble whatsoever sprinting across the primitive trails while I stayed behind on level ground signing myself … and him.

But fear of flying, er, heights, aside, “the thing” about sculpture and any other art form, “weather” created by nature … or people, is the invitation that extends to the viewer, an invitation too tempting for your imagination to let pass by …

Here in the Boothbay Harbor region, some captivating rock, as well as steel and metal, sculptures have been installed at various locations since last fall. Each one beckons you to stop, to touch, and listen. Each sculpture has its story to tell – yes, this is the imagination part … or … is it?

This is the inaugural year of the Boothbay Harbor Region Sculpture Trail, our year-round public art exhibition! The artists with works on the Trail are Dick Alden (Greenleaf Inn), Lise Becu (Boothbay Register and House of Logan), Sam Betts (Oceanside Golf Resort), Jaclyn Bonzagni (Boothbay Harbor Chamber), Lance Carlezon (Brick House Hill), Miles Chapin (Boothbay Harbor Chamber), Valery Mahuchy (Greenleaf Inn), Isabel Kelley (McKown Square – corner of McKown Street and Boothbay House Hill Road), Bill Royall (Tugboat Inn, Blue Moon Cafe, Brick House Hill), David Randall (Greenleaf Inn), Jay Sawyer (Opera House at Boothbay Harbor and Bath Savings Bank), Dan Ucci (Boothbay Harbor Inn), Andreas von Huene (Congregational Church of Boothbay Harbor), and the late Don Meserve (First National Bank, Boothbay Harbor).

Trail maps are located at the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber (192 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor), and at most of the sculpture locations – and I can vouch for the Boothbay Register where Lise Becu’s gorgeous granite sculpture “Mother” has stood since late last fall. This piece depicts a mother with a child in her arms with a peacock perched about her shoulders, its feathers floating down her back, as raiment – protecting mother and the child. The intricacy of this sculpture … you can feel the love that was carved into the stone by Becu. The detail of the peacock feathers flowing down the mother’s back is incredible … and you have to touch them.

Said Becu of this piece, “The mother looks down at the child who is looking out into the world and starting to let go of her hand. The eyes on the peacock’s tail surround the figures, watching over the child and protecting the child on life’s journey.”

The sculptures will change every two years – unless one is sold, then another would be put in its place. But back to the sculptures: Many of those installed now, and those that are to be installed in the future will be created during the live, 10-day sculpture symposium at Boothbay Railway Village (BRV), during the second Maine Coast Stone Symposium in August 2019.

Oh. And check this out: At the celebration launch for the Boothbay Harbor Region Sculpture Trail on Aug. 11 at BRV, the first-ever Food Sculpture Contest will be held. That’s right. Food. The Chamber has invited local chefs to show off their flair for sculpture … and there’s a $200 prize! The tricky part: The edible works of art must be able to set at room temperature or be cold. All sculptures will be named and ingredients listed. Judging will be at 4:30 p.m., before the Celebration Launch party (5-8 p.m.) And, Down East Magazine (a sponsor of the event) will be on the scene documenting the event – and food sculptures – for posterity.

I don’t know if the food sculptures will invite your imagination out to play, but, I’ve got a feeling your taste buds will be screaming to give it a go!

For more information on the Trail, or as Southport-based sculptor Bill Royall described it last year, "Sculpture city on the lobster coast," or the Celebration event and ticket info, call the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce: 633-2353.