March 11, 2010

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New England focus
Nashua’s third sculpture symposium stays regional

By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

The Nashua International Sculpture Symposium began through grassroots efforts just a few years ago, spearheaded by Nashua arts patron Meri Goyette with John Weidman, director of the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline.

The first two annual Nashua events in this “Footprints” series were mainly modeled on the Andres model. The former ski hill is now a sculpture park, and new outdoor pieces are added each fall through symposia. International artists are invited to come work and have the freedom to try new techniques, tools or materials. Local volunteers host the artists and donate time, materials and labor. Admission to visit the nonprofit Andres Institute is free.

Nashua now has nine sculptures through the symposia, which have mostly been installed in public areas around the town. Finished work in 2010 will be placed along the Riverwalk.

Nashua’s third symposium, themed “Diversity,” runs from May 16 through June 6. Sculptors will again be working at a NIMCO space, the use of which is donated by Alan Rau, facilities manager of Ultima Nashua Industrial Corporation (Ultima NIMCO).

But there are changes this year, said Michelle Crouch, who has been working on the project through the city’s Community Development Division since September.

To start with, there’s a focus on New England artists instead of international ones. It’s something different, and “in my opinion it just builds community and gives more opportunity for artists in the region,” Crouch said.

Instead of inviting sculptors, there was a call for artists for the 2010 symposium. Weidman, Julie Mento of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and Sister Theresa Couture, professor of art and director of Rivier College Art Gallery, made up the selection panel.

Another change is that some artists applied in teams, including Donna Dodson (donnadodsonartist.blogspot.com) of Boston and Andy Moerlein (andymoerlein.blogspot.com) of Bow. “I think we are inspired by each other’s works, and really wanted to collaborate to see what would happen,” Moerlein said. Moerlein has participated in Andres Institute symposia and you can see his work there.

They are using Moerlein’s sapling construction method to make a 12-foot “Moose Man (Moose Myth)” piece.

“We want it to be really natural and really organic and look like it just walked right out of the woods,” Dodson said.

The Chisel Sculpture and Design team consists of Nashuans Roberta Woitkowski, Margaret Woitkowski and Daniel Tomolonis.

The other participant is Joseph Montroy, who received an MFA in fine arts, sculpture, from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008. 

The Nashua symposium is supported through fundraising, volunteers and gifts in kind. Crouch said city staff involved are volunteering time. The City of Nashua, City Arts Nashua, Nashua Area Artists Association and Andres Institute collaborate on the event.


Watch the sculptors, or get involved
The public can watch the process and meet the sculptors at NIMCO, 1 Pine St. Extension in the millyard, weekdays during the symposium between noon and 2 p.m.; between 4 and 6 p.m. Thursdays; and between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays. Learn more about the symposium and upcoming related events at http://sites.google.com/site/sculpturesymposiumofnashua/ or e-mail Nashua.Sculpture@gmail.com.

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