All systems go for 14th Nashua International Sculpture Symposium

NASHUA – Three artists, one a native of Argentina now living in Boston, another from upstate New York and the third a former New York City resident who recently moved to Mid-Coast Maine, all have their sights set on Nashua and the 14th annual Nashua International Sculpture Symposium coming up in about a month.

Nora Valdez, a friend of a sculptor who participated in the symposium several years ago, will join Sam Finkelstein and Gavin Kenyon as this year’s featured sculptors.

Symposium organizers will introduce the artists at the opening reception, which is scheduled for the afternoon of Thursday, May 20, at a location yet to be determined. The plan is to have the reception filmed by Access Nashua and replayed later that evening, according to Gail Moriarty, the symposium’s president and the owner of The Picker Artists building.

The reason the final details are not yet set in stone is the stubborn nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, although gradually waning, is still enough of a threat that city safety guidelines will remain in effect.

But anyone who wishes to watch the sculptors work on their creations will have ample opportunities to do so: Beginning on Monday, May 24, visitors can swing by The Picker Artists building, where they will see all three working outside.

Visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Moriarty said the time frame is flexible, and if someone drives by and sees one or more of them working, they are welcome to stop and watch.

Historically, the symposium goes back to 2008, when it debuted as a smaller event inspired by a conversation John Weidman, well-known sculptor and director of the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline, had with Meri Goyette, one of the most effective and tireless advocates of the arts in Nashua.

Still today, Nashua holds the distinction as the only city in the United States to host an international sculpture symposium.

“Truly a community project,” is how organizers describe the annual event. Each year, the sculptors stay at the homes of Nashua residents, and they and others bring meals to the sculptors as they work and provide them transportation when necessary.

“We are thrilled to welcome the sculptors into our space,” Moriarty said. “The energy and collaboration will introduce us and the sculptors to new skills and cultures.”

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.