At the heart of the Maine Coast Stone Symposium is a 10-day sculpture symposium. The participating artists will be arriving soon and are scheduled to begin work at Boothbay Railway Village on Friday, Aug. 11 and continue daily through Monday, Aug. 21.
The first sculpture symposium of the modern era was held in Austria in 1959. Since then, sculptors have been gathering at various places around the world to practice their art and to learn from each other and from the symposium setting. In addition to learning new techniques, sculptors gain valuable exposure to different concepts and other cultures. The visiting public is often invited to share this experience and to gain a sense of what it takes to create a sculpture.
At the Maine Coast Stone Symposium, all participating artists will be working with Maine granite supplied by J.C. Stone in Jefferson. Featured artists are Dick Alden, Lise Becu, David Curry, Mark Herrington, Isabel Kelley, Roy Patterson, Myles Chapin, William Royall, David Sywalski, Dan Ucci, and Andreas von Huene.
A unique feature is that all the participating artists live in Maine or are from Maine, except for one very special guest, Kama Nagasawa, who is traveling to Boothbay from his home in Japan. His participation is made possible through the support of the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium.
The opportunity to serve as an apprentice was offered to students at several regional high schools. The artists committee selected Sam Betts, of East Boothbay, a recent Boothbay Region High School graduate, to join them and learn to work with one of the most challenging of all artistic media – stone. Betts will be working directly with several of the artists and will have the opportunity to use a new set of stone working tools gifted to the Maine Coast Stone Symposium.
Stone sculpture is, by nature, challenging. It is a subtractive process, meaning that pieces are removed to create forms instead of added such as in clay, glass, and other media. The artists will use hand tools as well as a variety of power tools, including those powered by a generator and compressor.
The sculptures created during the Maine Coast Stone Symposium will all be for sale. Works by symposium artists are in private and public collections throughout the U.S.
A final special featuring for the Maine Coast Stone Symposium is a pop-up gallery under a gorgeous sailcloth tent. Small works by Mark Herrington, Dick Alden, David Curry, and Isabel Kelley will be exhibited and for sale from Aug. 11-21.
On the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m., the public is invited to meet Mark Herrington and learn more about his work and the creative process. Herrington will take a traditional approach with a slide presentation of his work and time for questions.
On Thursday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m., both Andreas von Huene and Dick Alden will speak with those interested in learning more about these two fascinating Maine sculptors. Von Huene has prepared a special talk specifically about the apparatus and specialized equipment he creates to allow him to push the boundaries of physics with his daring sculptures. Dick Alden came to sculpture full time after a successful career in banking. He will share slides of his work and discuss process and inspiration.
Maine State Geologist Robert Marvinney will present “A Brief History of a Billion Years of Earth Time as Recorded in Maine’s Rocks and Minerals” on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. His presentation will give light to why granite is abundant in Maine and why Maine granite is unique and so often sought out by sculptors.
On the final night of the artist residencies, there will be a gala to celebrate their work. Guests will be among the first to see the completed works and have the opportunity to visit with the artists in person. This elegant evening will be catered by Stone Cove Catering with passed hors d’oeuvres highlighting Maine products, including local lobster and crab, Bristol Creamery cheese, Ducktrap Farms smoked salmon, and Pineland Farms steak. The gala will also feature cocktails made with Split Rock Distillery spirits, Boothbay Craft Brewery beers, and an oyster bar featuring Glidden Point oysters. Live music will be provided by Barney Balch and his band. The winners of the Don Justin Meserve sculpture raffle will also be drawn during the celebration. Tickets are $75 each and can be reserved online at railwayvillage.org/stonesymposium or by phone at 633-4727.
The Maine Coast Stone Symposium is funded in part by an Arts & Humanities Grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maine Humanities Council.
All talks will take place inside the 1847 Boothbay Town Hall at the Boothbay Railway Village museum, 586 Wiscasset Road, Boothbay. A donation of $5 is suggested and proceeds will benefit the museum’s general operating fund. The exhibit, “Built with Stone,” is open daily through Aug. 31. The exhibit, the sculpture symposium with artists working, and any scheduled demonstrations are free with regular museum admission of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 children ages 3-18. Children under age 3 and museum members are free. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details about any of the programs that make up the Maine Coast Stone Symposium, go to railwayvillage.org or call 633-4727.