A sculpture park for Burlington, proposed more than two years ago, is beginning to take shape, according to Jonathan Sachs, chairman of the Sculpture Park Subcommittee, who briefed the Board of Selectmen Monday night.
Sachs has long been an advocate for bringing art to the town common and other locations around town, with the desire to have Burlington known for more than its shopping mall.
Board members warmed to the idea of a few pieces, carefully vetted against any public offense, placed on the field between the Police Station and Grandview Farm.
Sachs explained the plan to unveil the first sculptures next June, obtained with an initial grant of $10,000 from Nordblom Company. Sculptors would not be limited to any particular theme, but would be asked to provide colorful work, nothing illuminated, political or in poor taste, “something that would delight all ages,” Sachs said.
“It has to stand up to weather, and shouldn’t be able to break, and no one should be able to get hurt – no sharp edges,” he said. Works would be sited for two years, with the possibility of a longer stay, should the public enjoy them enough to keep them around longer, he said.
The plan is to reach out to sculptors through the New England Sculpture Association this month, and submit design options in January, Sachs said.
Selectman Nick Priest, who sits on the subcommittee, advised board members not to think of sculpture as a “monolith,” like Michelangelo’s 17-foot “David.”
“There are plenty of ways to approach this that are safe and not distracting,” he said. “The goal is to try and bring a level of vibrancy to the town common area, to appease everybody. It’s a great idea and I support it.”
Board member Michael Runyan expressed concern about approving art pieces “sight unseen.”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” he said.
Chairman Joseph Morandi said he is “definitely not against it,” and called the park a “great idea for the town.” He expressed concern about public dissatisfaction with any potential art piece, stating, “When it comes back, we get it. It’s not something I want to deal with, with everything else in town.”
Sachs agreed with a suggestion to break the project up into shorter phases to give the committee experience in acquiring sculptures and assessing public reaction.
The board voted to continue the discussion at a later meeting.
For more information on the proposed Sculpture Park, visit art4burlington.org.