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August 19, 2013

Five places to find really cool sculptures

Artfully rendered rock, metal and wood are big in Maine, and out there in public for all to enjoy.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

It started with a simple Facebook post:

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Jesse Salisbury’s “Tidal Moon” at the Jetport.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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“Garden Interlude” by Carole Whelan at the Art Gallery at the University of New England in Portland.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

"Feeling the need for a good art fix. Maybe a tour of outdoor sculpture. Reflecting on the beauty artists bring to the world (thank you)."

With those three sentences as a prompt, we've come up with a list of five must-see opportunities for outdoor sculpture along the Maine coast this summer.

A disclaimer: This list is based on recent visits to each location, and informed by personal tastes and sensibilities. We've suggested what we think are five excellent opportunities to see daring, inventive and creative sculpture. But it is by no means meant to be comprehensive or inclusive.

One that didn't make this list is the newly retooled sculpture garden at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland. (If you take the time to visit the Farnsworth, be sure to check out the refurbished Robert Indiana "LOVE" sculpture inside -- that alone is worth the price of admission.) And the Ogunquit Museum of American Art is in the process of re-landscaping its sculpture garden, making its collection of Bernard Langlais animal sculptures the centerpiece.

We also made no attempt at suggesting inland locales, as this list is intended to provide a tour of logical and mostly convenient sculpture stops from Portland up the coast to Down East Maine.

So, without further ado, let the tour commence. 

PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL JETPORT: In the last few years, largely because of the generosity of a single donor and the leadership of a visionary airport director, the jetport boasts some of Maine's most dramatic sculpture.

It began in 2011 with the installation of eight welded steel pieces by Wendy Klemperer along the approach road, depicting wildlife common in Maine -- deer, a porcupine and a wolf, the latter with his head held high and howling.

Collectively known as "Glimpse," the eight-piece collection came as a gift of William D. Hamill of Yarmouth, who believes the best way to get people to look at art is to put it right in front of them in unexpected ways. More than 1.6 million passengers use the airport annually, and many more travel there to pick up and drop off family and friends.

Airport director Paul Bradbury, working with the Portland Public Art Committee and the City Council, has encouraged more. Last year, Steuben sculptor Jesse Salisbury installed his piece "Tidal Moon" on the grassy knoll outside the baggage claim doors. It's a 14-foot-tall piece that features two large split granite columns, with a single granite sphere nestled between. It weighs about 8 tons, and again came as a gift to the city courtesy of Hamill.

Three more Salisbury pieces are planned. Two bench-like structures and another vertical granite behemoth called "Beach Pea" will be placed at the airport soon -- likely this fall, pending approval by the art committee and the City Council. "Beach Pea" is a 9-foot granite form that's shaped like a peapod with spherical seeds. One naturally formed granite bench will be placed by each sculpture.

Additionally, Bradbury has arranged for the installation of four pieces -- one each by Cabot Lyford, Edwin Gamble, Steve Lindsay and Roy Patterson, in wood, bronze, granite and basalt, respectively -- to be installed inside the airport. Another outdoor piece by Warren sculptor Jay Sawyer is also planned, pending city approval. 

Portland International Jetport, 1001 Westbrook St. Admission is free. portlandjetport.org

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Additional Photos

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At the Art Gallery at the University of New England in Portland, “Spring (from the Cloud Series)” by Melita Westerlund.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Wendy Klemperer’s porcupine at the Portland International Jetport.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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One of Wendy Klemperer’s deer at the Portland International Jetport.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Jay Sawyer has dotted his property in Warren with the sculptures that he creates from salvaged materials, including “Samosphere IV: A Space for The Spirit."

Photos courtesy of the artist

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“Driftwood Loon” by Dan West at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.

Courtesy photo

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At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay: “Oak Leaf” by John Bowdren.

Courtesy photo

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At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay: “Royalty” by Melita Westerlund.

Courtesy photo

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At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay: “Black Locust Bench with Robin” by Ray Carbone.

Courtesy photo

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Jay Sawyer has dotted his property in Warren with the sculptures that he creates from salvaged materials, including “Keebler Tree.”

Photos courtesy of the artist

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From the Sculpture Trail of Maine, works by Don Meserve in Winter Harbor.

Courtesy photo

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From the Sculpture Trail of Maine, works by Don Meserve, Lise Becu in Addison.

Courtesy photo

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