GARDINER — The city’s emerging theme of larger-than-life metal sculptures downtown and at the Waterfront Park is continuing this evening with the unveiling of another piece in Johnson Park on Water Street.

Gardiner’s Art in The Park program will feature the sculpture “Ebb and Flow,” by artist Katherine Herard, of South China.

The sculpture, which will be displayed through October, will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. tonight as part of the Gardiner Artwalk. The event will take place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. throughout downtown. It was launched in the fall of 2005 by the Artdogs studios and a handful of area artists.

Patrick Wright, director of the Gardiner Main Street Program, said Art in the Park is supported by the city of Gardiner and Gardiner Main Street with the help of a $10,000 grant from the Harry Faust Foundation.

Wright said the program is just one of the ways Gardiner is working to attract visitors and increase vibrancy downtown.

“I hope people enjoy this year’s sculpture and that it encourages discussion about the arts and the importance of an active downtown,” Wright said. “It continues to deepen our status as a cultural center for both tourism and our own personal identity.”

Herard’s sculpture adds to the growing collection of public sculpture projects that have contributed to the cultural ambience in Gardiner, city officials said.

About six years ago, the city commissioned a sculpture for the McKay mini-park off Water Street.

In 2010, “The Rising,” a public sculpture by Gardiner artist Robert Lash, was installed at the Waterfront Park. Savings Bank of Maine commissioned the work as part of its donation for park improvements. The 20-foot-high stainless-steel sculpture, which weighs more than 6 tons, stands at the Flood Tide Terrace across from the park’s boat launch. The base incorporates two giant cast-iron drive gears from the former American Tissue mill in Augusta.

Then last year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Kennebec River Rail Trail, another sculpture, called the “Song for the Kennebec,” by Richard Fisher, of Prospect Harbor, was installed at Waterfront Park.

“It’s a pretty neat sculpture,” Wright said. “It catches the wind and has a giant wind chime.”

Wright said Fisher’s sculpture eventually will be at the rail trail’s southern terminus. The city plans to connect the trail to the Waterfront Park someday, he said. The trail ends at the Hannaford supermarket parking lot.

“Our long-term plan is for Gardiner to be recognized as the southern terminus of the trail,” he said.

Herard, 27, who attends the University of Maine at Augusta, said her piece was created from industrial objects found around the state. “Ebb and Flow’s” curves and kinetic mass are meant to represent the passing of life-altering moments, she said.

After having taken classes ranging from photography to print-making, Herard enrolled in a summer welding class. She said the moment she cut that first piece of metal with the acetylene torch, “I found my place and love in the art world.”

“It’s very exciting to be a student and to have been chosen to do something like this,” Herard said Thursday. “I kind of squealed like a little girl when Patrick called and said they wanted to use my piece. It’s just a rewarding experience for me.”

Lash, who also serves on the Main Street’s Design Committee, which is responsible for the Art in the Park Program, said “we wanted to coincide the unveiling (of Herard’s sculpture) with the Artwalk to get folks downtown.”

He said it’s refreshing to be in a city that appreciates sculpture and other art.

“Not only does outdoor sculpture enhance the lives of those who live here, but also welcomes visitors to Gardiner in a culturally inviting way,” Lash said. “I would love to see even more outdoor sculpture in Gardiner so it is yet another reason for Gardiner to be a destination.”

For more information about Artwalk Gardiner, call Karen Adrienne at 582-6600 or go to www.theartdogs.com.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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