Pamela Moulton stands next to a structural post from one of her three pink sculptures, dubbed “the pinkies,” at Payson Park in Portland on Tuesday after they had been loaded onto a flatbed truck to be transported her studio in Norway. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

If you saw a 40-foot trailer on Interstate 95 Tuesday hauling three hot pink sculptures that look like they are straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you.

Artist Pamela “Posey” Moulton installed the works of art, called “Beneath the Forest, Beneath the Sea,” in Portland’s Payson Park two years ago through the nonprofit TempoArt. The brightly colored behemoths made an immediate impact in their neighborhood, where some fell in love and others scratched their heads. But the project was never meant to be permanent, and this June was their planned expiration date. So on Tuesday, Moulton moved them from the park to her workspace at Lights Out Gallery in Norway.

The day was not a sad one, however. Moulton plans to freshen up the sculptures she affectionately calls “the pinkies” and bring them to a to-be-announced new home.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I feel like they’re in their teenage stage now.”

Still, moving sculptures that stand as tall as 17 feet is no small feat. The process required five people, a forklift and a 40-foot trailer. Thomas Richards, who drove the trailer from Bancroft Contracting, said he had never hauled anything quite like this.

“I’ll call the office,” he said as he eyed his cargo. “I think they got me an oversize permit.”


Artist Pamela Moulton unbolts a structural post from one of her three pink sculptures at Payson Park in Portland on Tuesday in preparation to move them to her studio in Norway. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer


TempoArt formed in 2015 and funds art installations in public spaces around Portland. The nonprofit puts out a request for proposals and typically pays the selected artist $25,000 to complete the work. The pieces remain in place for one or two years. The artist retains ownership and can decide what to do with the work at the end of that tenure.

Other installations include “Carousel Cosmos” by Chris Miller on the Western Promenade in 2023, “Gathering Stones” by Jesse Salisbury on the Eastern Promenade in 2020 and “Mother’s Garden” by Daniel Minter in East Bayside in 2019. Later this month, Massachusetts-based artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein will bring giant great egrets to Back Cove in a piece titled “Dancing for Joy (By the Will of the People).”

Moulton made “Beneath the Forest, Beneath the Sea” in 2022 with more than 5,000 students and volunteers. The steel frames are covered with discarded fishing gear and nets, and the resulting sculptures have inspired comparisons to aliens, mushrooms and undersea monsters. The artist doesn’t define her creations; she prefers to hear how visitors interpret them instead.

“These are sensory sculptures and I hope people will touch, crawl, and picnic under them, and marvel that these materials were just recently lost and haunting the bottom of the ocean,” Moulton wrote in an artist statement about the piece. “I’m happy that many will enjoy the art simply for its beauty and whimsy, and I hope it will additionally inspire some to contemplate, discuss and get actively involved in the deeper underlying environmental issues.”

Moulton, who lives in North Bridgton, had never made anything quite like the pinkies. She and artist Roy Fox recently made a similar commission called “Tangle” for the University of Southern Maine and learned through that process how she wants to update “Beneath the Forest, Beneath the Sea.” She launched a GoFundMe to help cover costs such as transportation and weatherization. She has raised about half of her $10,000 goal and said those funds covered the major costs of the move on Tuesday; the fundraiser is still open to help bring the sculptures back to life after two years in the elements.


Tim Chouinard lowers an appendage from one of “the pinkies” to sculptor Pamela Moulton in preparation to move the artwork from Payson Park in Portland to Norway. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Preparation began on site Monday, when Moulton and her crew added wooden supports under the sculptures so they could be moved with a forklift. She also took off a couple appendages to make sure they didn’t hit bridges or electric lines in transport. The frames were built in pieces, so some could be unscrewed, but others had to be sawed off. Moulton said she was touched by the visitors who bid farewell to the pinkies as she worked.

“So many people go, ‘Will you let us know where they’re going?’ ” she said.


Tim Chouinard came from Massachusetts, where he has a hardscaping company, to help with the move. He said one passerby asked him if the sculptures were coming or going. When Chouinard said “going,” the man replied, “Good!” But Chouinard, who is also an artist, said he appreciates the pinkies for their uniqueness.

“You have to be open,” he said.

Chouinard helped move Moulton’s sculpture “Tangle” and said the team learned a lot from that experience. He operated the forklift with ease and didn’t even flinch when the last one wobbled precariously. The heaviest was 1,200 pounds, but the real wild card was the sculpture nicknamed “Coral,” which had the widest stance and the tallest height. To fit the sculpture on the forklift and then the truck, the crew had to unscrew one of its four legs, and Moulton herself stood on the pallet to balance it out as Chouinard raised it to the trailer bed.


Artist Pamela Moulton watches as Tim Chouinard climbs atop one of her sculptures while preparing them for transportation from Payson Park in Portland to Moulton’s studio in Norway. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Passersby paused to watch their work. A parks department truck drove by and honked at the crew, and Moulton waved in response. Hannah Ashleigh unloaded 21-month-old Grace from the car for their daily visit to Payson Park, where the nanny and child have often sat under the sculptures to eat a snack.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” Ashleigh, 24, said of “Beneath the Forest, Beneath the Sea.” “But I like them.”

“Truck!” the toddler exclaimed, eyeing the trailer with curiosity.

Emily Lowe lives in the neighborhood with 3-year-old Tenzing, and they visited the park Tuesday to play on the baseball field. They usually appreciated the sculptures from a distance during their visits (“They s-c-a-r-e-d him at first,” Lowe explained with a smile). They speculated about what they could be.

“A dragon,” Tenzing said. “A T-Rex.”

The sculptures known as “the pinkies” depart Payson Park in Portland on a flatbed truck driven by Thomas Richards of Bancroft Contracting Corporation en route to artist Pamela Moulton’s studio in Norway. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Portlanders Devin Green and Katie Roberts walked their dogs through the grass near the sculptures.


“Are you the artist?” Green said to Moulton. “Thank you.”

Green, 41, said she and others were uncertain about the pieces at first. But she came to love the pinkies and the community events that grew up around them. She attended a dance performance that used the sculptures as a backdrop and a “pink picnic” in which guests were encouraged to match the sculptures.

The performance by Kristen Stake and Hannah Wasielewski, founders of an experimental dance company called Imaginary Island, fell on the same day in 2022 that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Green said the artists invited the audience to participate in a “screaming circle” to release their emotions about the decision.

“They were definitely controversial” at first, she said. “But it will be strange to not see them here.”

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