PORTLAND – Jesse Salisbury, an artist from Steuben, has been given the nod by members of Portland’s Public Art Committee to start developing plans for creating a large, granite sculpture.

He’s just not sure yet where the piece will be installed.

Salisbury proposed placing the sculpture at the Portland International Jetport near the main entrance. But art committee members suggested that Salisbury tour other city-owned properties before coming back with a recommendation.

“Our job is to make sure we have art everywhere in the city,” Alice Spencer, the committee’s co-chair, said after the meeting. “We have a big city and we need to look at all the neighborhoods. I happen to think the airport would be a great site because it would grab peoples’ attention as they come and go.”

Salisbury and his agent, June Lacombe, introduced their plans to the art committee Wednesday night.

Lacombe said the plan is still preliminary and could change, but that the sculpture would be donated to the city by William Hamill of Yarmouth. He also would pay the cost of installation.

“He (Hamill) feels a gift to the jetport is a gift to the people of Maine. He loved having the feeling he was giving something to the people of Maine,” Lacombe told the art committee.

Spencer said that earlier this year, Hamill donated “Glimpse,” a menagerie created by New York artist Wendy Klemperer that includes a porcupine, a wolf and three deer, to the city. The metal sculptures now occupy two knolls on the access road from Congress Street to the jetport terminal.

The art committee would partner with the artist to oversee its installation.

Once the artist has chosen a site, he’ll return to the art committee, which in turn will make a recommendation to the City Council.

The council must ratify any donation before it can become a part of the city’s art collection.

Salisbury said the shape and form of the sculpture has not been determined, but “I like to do epic projects.” He tentatively plans to create the sculpture from 20 tons of granite.

Salisbury said he chose the jetport as his venue because “it serves as a gateway into Maine for a lot of people.”


Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at [email protected]