New year-round attraction set in stone

“Sculpture city on the lobster coast” - Bill Royall
Posted:  Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 8:00am
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Stone sculptures are being placed around downtown Boothbay Harbor and there will be many more. These sculptures will be the focus of the region’s new, year-round attraction: the Boothbay Harbor Region Sculpture Trail. The official opening, as it were, is planned for early June 2018.

The trail will be a bi-annual event, rotating with the Maine Coast Stone Symposium, which was held at Boothbay Railway Village throughout August this year. One of the purposes of the symposium, in addition to shining a spotlight on Maine’s rock history through images, workshops, talks and demos, and the live 10-day exhibition of stone sculptors creating new work, was to create a feeder program for the trail. The symposium returns in August 2019.

If you missed the symposium, five works created during the live demo days are now at the following locations: The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor is the site for Dick Alden’s (Boothbay) “Mercury,” smooth Heritage granite, cool to the touch and the eye; Lise Becu’s (Tenant’s Harbor)  “Sun & Moon” stand side-by-side in the courtyard at House of Logan – the detail and expression are remarkable; just up from Logan’s, atop Brick House Hill is Bill Royall’s (Southport Island) “Mountain Lake” – you will definitely want to feel the flow of the energy within the stone; Lance Carlezon’s (Windsor) “Water Stone” is at Blue Moon – it’s not just large, it is crazy fluid, too, and those ridges …; Isabel Catherine Kelley’s (Portland) “Reservations” is on the corner of McKown Street and Boothbay House Hill Road, a three-piece work that intrigues and invites the viewer to create their own story about it; Becu’s second sculpture, “Mother” is at the Boothbay Register. The intricate, detailed granite sculpture depicts a mother – with a peacock about her shoulders, its feathers floating down her back like a robe – and child. It is a story of protection.

Writes Becu, “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.”  You must see this. It is inspired.

The trail has been a few years in the making. Southport-based sculptor Bill Royall stopped by the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce (yes, Bill is Executive Director Patricia Royall’s cousin) on his way home from Meredith, New Hampshire. His granite and stainless steel sculptures “Galaxy” and “Glacier” are two of the 33 sculptures in the Meredith Sculpture Walk.

“The people in Meredith have shared their entire program with us,” Bill Royall said. “They are in the fourth year and it keeps growing. Their advice to us: Start small.”

Royall, no stranger to installing sculptures weighing thousands of pounds, noted there is much more involved in setting up a trail exhibit – even when you’re starting small. Accompanied by sculptor Dan Ucci and his boom truck, Royall began the installations the week of Oct. 30. When Ucci’s truck died, E.M. Wood Construction of Boothbay came to the rescue. “You just don’t really know what’s involved until you start doing it,” said Bill Royall. “We can’t thank Justin and Eric (Wood) enough for the use of the truck. And their drivers, including Ernie Morton who manned the truck at the Register installation.”

The trail’s first sponsor, Bath Savings, donated monetarily and plans to donate sculpturally by installing an original piece. However, businesses interested in having a sculpture don’t have to be sponsors of the trail walk.

Sponsorship funds will be used to print the trail maps that give each sculpture’s location, an image of the sculpture, and a brief bio on the artist who created it. These funds will also help obtain signage, which will be posted near each sculpture, bearing the name of the sculpture and artist, sale price (yes they are all for sale), and name of the sponsoring business. For detailed sponsorship information, contact Patricia Royall at the Chamber at 633-2353 or patricia@boothayharbor.com

Seed money to cover initial expenses for the October and November sculpture installations were generously given by Ronnie Babcock, Pat Oberuch, Mike Tomacelli, Jane Good, Irene Fowle, Russ Armstrong, Ron Giles, Southport General Store, and Boothbay Harbor Framers Gallery. Others interested in making a donation, but not on the sponsorship level, should make checks or money orders payable to the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce with Sculpture Trail on the memo line. Mail to P.O. Box 356, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538, or drop it off at the Chamber office at 192 Townsend Ave. in Boothbay Harbor.

“I just talked to them about the trail and they said, ‘Here take this to get started’ because they liked the idea,” said Bill Royall.

“The beauty of the trail is the way it benefits economic development,” said Patricia Royall. “It’s a four-season attraction that will draw a different kind of visitor to the region; and the trail exposes people to public art – not to mention the great exposure it gives to the artist and the art form itself.”

Sculptures will change every two years to keep the trail fresh. And, because it is a four-season attraction, the trail will make for a perfect day trip. Walk it, grab a bite for lunch or dinner, maybe stop in a shop or two ... More sculptures will be installed this spring prior to the trail’s grand opening in June.

This winter, the Chamber will send out a call for sculptors of all mediums, for the trail.

“We’ll be looking for outdoor, public scale-sized sculptures in all forms – wood, bronze, steel, stone, clay ...”  Bill Royall said, adding with a grin, “Think sculpture city on the lobster coast.”