Hugh Lassen’s “Totem” will be the largest sculpture in the garden in downtown Westbrook. Courtesy photo

WESTBROOK — Nine sculptures from Maine-based artists will grace the downtown parcel of land by the “Welcome to Westbrook” mural by fall, thanks to a donation of art and funds by the Warren Memorial Foundation.

“The park looks fabulous, it is really sharp,” City Council President Gary Rairdon said while reviewing the site plan at a City Council meeting last week.

The Warren Memorial Foundation pledged about $190,000 for both the art and landscaping at the park,  continuing its mission to support the arts and education in the city.

“They have been great partners with us,” said Westbrook Arts and Culture President Andy Curran.

The Warren Foundation initially planned to install public art in Westbrook over a three-year period. However, Westbrook Arts and Culture convinced the foundation to put its money and efforts into one larger project.

Curran hopes the sculpture garden, which is slated to have works by Mark Herrington, Hugh Lassen, Patrick Plourde and Meg Brown Payson, will be the anchor for public art in the city.

“Our vision is to sort of make a sculpture walk,” Curran said. “Westbrook is full of what we call a green string of pearls, meaning there are different public, green places through town. The vision is to make Westbrook an art destination, too, and allow people to sort of walk from one piece of art to the next and really experience Westbrook.”

The site off Main Street, which featured a gazebo until a few years ago, has a small walkway, a few rolling hills, two birch trees and one gingko tree. Not much landscaping is planned, but a fence will be added to the municipal parking lot between the mural and the river. Memorial benches and a retaining wall also will be added to showcase the Westbrook mural and the nearby river.

Local artists, architects and landscapers had input into the project, figuring out what pieces of art would best fit the park and Westbrook.

The Westbrook mural, also a project of Westbrook Arts and Culture and the Warren Memorial Foundation, will be a backdrop for the downtown sculpture garden. Chance Viles/American Journal

The pieces, made of stone and more avant-garde in style, are to “get people thinking,” Curran said, and stimulate a local creative economy.

“Art like this brings people into town. The idea is that people will come and make their day here, and by coming for the art, they will go to our restaurants, check out our shops,” he said.

Work is slated to begin shortly, with Curran expecting the project to wrap up in late August. A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for September.

“The location is perfect for us, right in downtown, by the library, and we are able to preserve this as green, multi-use space as a beautiful spot for the community,” Curran said.

The park won’t be a solemn place to look at art, but rather a park that can hold a number of casual guests, and eventually be the venue for smaller concerts, poetry readings or other events.

“Westbrook is really firing on all cylinders now, with all of these developments and art projects,” Curran said.