Brookline to host 17th sculpture symposium

BROOKLINE – The Andres Institute of Art, 98 Route 13, will host its 17th annual Bridges and Connections International Sculpture Symposium from Sept. 12-Oct. 4.

The symposium opening will be held from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Big Bear Lodge, adjacent to the Andres Institute Sculpture Park.

The public is invited to come welcome the international artists to New Hampshire. Refreshments will be served.

"This year’s symposium is titled ‘Perseverance,’ " said John Weidman, the institute’s co-founder and artistic director.

"It relates to walking that extra mile, taking the step beyond. As it may inspire the artists and public, may it be taken to heart by all of us here at the Andres Institute of Art."

The symposium invites a handful of artists from around the world to New Hampshire for three weeks of fellowship, inspiration and collaboration. The artists learn new techniques as they develop original works of art that will be added to the institute’s growing permanent collection.

Artists invited to the symposium include Gemma Dominguez Guerra, Spain; Klaus Friedrich Hunsicker, of Germany; and Viktar Kopach, of Belarus.

"Though often active participants in the international symposia circuit, past artists have reported that our New Hampshire event is in a class by itself, largely due to the open hearts and homes of the residents," board President Robin Clark said.

"Most of the artists are unaccustomed to living with area residents during an entire symposium or having each meal lovingly prepared by and shared with our volunteers. Seeing local small businesses donate goods and services, meeting the many visitors to the Sculpture Park during the symposium, they often express gratitude and delight in our way of doing things here in Brookline."

Eric Doberstein, AIA board vice president, said, "This is really a community event. It is a chance to learn more about other cultures and more about the creative design process. The public is invited to come to our Sculpture Park and actually watch the artists at work from 9-5 during all three weeks of the symposium."

"I see the world quite differently now than I did before I began to meet the artists who honor us with their presence and their art each fall at AIA," Clark said.

"I am amazed both at how much we have in common as well as well as how differently our experiences have been. My heart aches with their stories of poverty and oppression and war. My heart sings when we gaze together at the beauty of their finished sculptures and when they speak of that one special person who believed in their art before they even believed in themselves.

"Their voices linger in my mind long after they return to their homes … and their powerful and beautiful art inspires me each time I walk the trails of our Sculpture Park. Listening to their stories helps me understand my own more fully."

The public is also invited to the unveiling of the new sculptures during closing ceremonies at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3.

"We invite the public to witness the unveiling of each new piece in the Sculpture Park and then to join us for celebration afterwards at the Big Bear Lodge," board treasurer Peter Cook said. "These artists are permanently donating their sculptures to our community here in New Hampshire. We want them to know we appreciate their work."

The Andres Institute of Art has the largest sculpture park in New England, with more than 80 sculptures spread along hiking trails winding through 140 acres of natural woodland on the slopes of Bear Mountain. The public has free, walk-in access to the park during daylight hours 365 days a year, with ample parking at the base of the mountain.

As a nonprofit charitable organization, the institute welcomes tax-deductible donations of any size to help keep the Sculpture Park open to all, and is looking for grants and benefactors to help fund its plans for future growth.

Details about guided tours and public events during the symposium, along with downloadable trail maps and self-guided audio tours, can be found at andresinstitute.org.