Ben Koehler, with Main Street Skowhegan, lights the Kennebec on Fire installation in the Great Eddy on the Kennebec River in Skowhegan in August. Two of the five sculptures floated downriver Saturday when the river level rose, likely due to the rainstorm a day earlier. Volunteers are in the process of retrieving them. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

SKOWHEGAN — Volunteers are helping to retrieve steel art sculptures from the Kennebec River that floated east Saturday when the water level rose, likely do to the rainstorm a day earlier.

The fire brazier sculptures were first lit on the river during Kennebec on Fire, an event held Aug. 29, 2021, at Coburn Park which is on the river. A brazier refers to a portable heater.

“Two of the five sculptures floated a little ways down the river with the high water event on Saturday,” Kristina Cannon, executive director of Main Street Skowhegan, said in an email Monday. “We have located them and are working with volunteers to move them back up river to remove them from the water for the season.”

The sculptures are generally kept in the water from mid-June to the end of October, according to Cannon. They were anchored in the portion of the river known as the Great Eddy, off U.S. Route 2, when the pair floated downriver.

Based on an assessment captured using a drone, the sculptures were not damaged, she said.

They were created by Maine artists Steve Anderson, Jay Sawyer, Terrence Parker, Magdaleena Rouhiainen and William Josiah Glover.


During the festival, people viewed the sculptures from Coburn Park off Water Street and a riverside beach accessible via Mount Pleasant Avenue on the south side of the river.

In  2019 Main Street Skowhegan received a Creative Communities = Economic Development Implementation Grant from the Maine Arts Commission to develop the Kennebec on Fire event in collaboration with the Wesserunsett Arts Council, according to Main Street’s website.

Most of the grant funding was used for artist commissions, with the remaining funds paid to Maine Wood Heat Co., a Skowhegan business that fabricated the bases, the website says.

“We are extremely excited to draw attention to our river, which has been the lifeblood of the community for so long, while at the same time further promoting Skowhegan and the region as a destination for cultural experiences, including outdoor recreation, local food and of course the arts,” Cannon is quoted as saying on the website.

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