Andres Institute hosting Sculpture Symposium

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do on precious days off.

Go for a hike in the woods? Climb a moun­tain? Visit a museum?

Or even better, during the gor­geous fall days to come, visit a sculpture park?

You can do all four at once in Brookline at the Andres Sculp­ture Park, the biggest sculpture park, by area, in New England.

This hidden gem is spread over a small mountain that was once Brookline’s ski hill. Admis­sion is free, and the park is open dawn to dusk every day, allowing range from easy to dif­ficult, through 140 acres of woods. Many of the artworks are made of stone, and there is an old granite quarry on the site.

Hikers will find more than 80 sculpted pieces created by artists from Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Re­public, Egypt, England, Greece, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Viet­nam, the United States and more.

"This is a fantastic place to bring kids and leashed dogs for a family outing," said Nancy Re­inbold, Andres spokes­woman.

Unlike most sculpture parks, visitors can touch the sculptures, and there are several picnic tables available.

The Andres Institute of Art was founded in 1996 by entrepreneur Paul Andres, who purchased the mountain and built a studio on its top, and by Brookline sculptor John Weidman, the designer of Nashua’s Holocaust memorial and a number of other New England works of public art.

This month, the insti­tute is in the midst of its 18th annual Internation­al Sculpture Symposium, with the theme "Perspec­tive."

Guest artists are Dominika Griesgra­ber, from Poland; Erik Wennerstrand, from Swe­den; and Carole Turner, of the United States.

Artists choose granite or iron and sculpt or weld the pieces in about 19 days. During their stay, each artist lives with a host family who provides a bedroom, bathroom, breakfast, and transpor­tation to and from the studio at the park.

Finished sculptures will be permanently placed on the trails.

As the artists work, the public is invited to observe, interact and join guided tours of the collection.

Andres Sculpture Park is located at 98 Route 13, on the west side of the road and south of the Big Bear Lodge. The en­trance can be difficult to see. Look for an engraved stone that says "Andres Institute of Art." The dirt road leads to a kiosk and parking area.

Hikes range from easy to difficult, and color-coded trail maps are available at the kiosk or can be downloaded from www.andresinstitute.org.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.