“Road Line” by Andy Goldsworthy winds through the campus at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. Photo by Ilham Santoso, courtesy of College of the Atlantic

At the entrance to the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, the curb splits from Eden Street. It curves away from the road and carves a granite line through the campus, around trees and over a path to end at Frenchman Bay. There are nearly 250 individual stones, the last four of which were laid Friday.

This project by contemporary sculptor Andy Goldsworthy has been physically under construction for weeks this summer. But really, it began 30 years ago when Darron Collins was a student here and discovered Goldsworthy’s work. Collins, now the college president, saw an opportunity in 2018 when a visiting museum director gave a presentation that included a commission by the artist. At the end, Collins approached the presenter with his question.

“If there’s one college in this country whose ethos totally embodies the work of Andy Goldsworthy, it is the College of the Atlantic,” Collins said to him. “Can you put me in touch?”

Now, Goldsworthy is about to complete a major installation on the campus. The work, called “Road Line,” is a winding line of granite curbstones that stretches 1,000 feet through the campus. Both the president and the artist believe the College of the Atlantic made the perfect setting for this work. in part because of its focus on the relationship between humans and the environment.

“It provided a far more interesting and powerful and meaningful context than I’d ever thought possible, and it’s certainly extracted far more out of the work,” said Goldsworthy. “It is a far stronger piece of art here than it would be anywhere else, I feel.”

Andy Goldsworthy, right, works on “Road Line” at College of the Atlantic. Photo by Benjamin Troutman, courtesy of College of the Atlantic.

Goldsworthy was born in England but is now based in Scotland. His diverse career spans four decades and includes photography, sculpture, installation and film. He often works outdoors with natural materials, and he has created permanent and temporary works around the world. He has been the subject of two documentaries: “Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time” in 2001 and “Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy” in 2017. One ongoing project in North York Moors in the United Kingdom is called “Hanging Stones,” for which Goldsworthy is rebuilding 10 buildings in various states of disrepair as artworks along a 6-mile walk. His work often explores themes such as the effects of time, the natural surroundings, and the beauty in loss and regeneration.


The artist started sketching plans for a work at the College of the Atlantic during the COVID-19 pandemic, using Google Earth to view the campus from his home in Scotland. The idea was borne out of his own interest in lines and also his knowledge of the granite industry in New England. He thought about the curved granite curbstones he saw in a quarry, the shapes of the lines they make and the journeys they evoke. He wanted the end product to feel effortless, the way a snake moves across water.

“The stone is solid, and yet, my aim has been to reflect the fluidity and movement that is inherent in that stone,” said Goldsworthy.

The College of the Atlantic has approximately 350 students who take classes in various disciplines but all receive a degree in human ecology.

“Road Line” stretches 1,000 feet from Eden Street to Frenchman Bay at the College of the Atlantic. Photo by Ilham Santoso, courtesy of College of the Atlantic

“Students who come to COA are really dedicated to not only understanding the relationship between humans and the world around them, but also to improving the relationship between humans and the world around them,” said Collins. “Art has long been an important part of our curriculum. His art – for those reasons and for our sole major and the passion of many of our students – is very analogous.”

Goldsworthy visited the campus for the first time in September 2021. The project had its logistical challenges. The team had to source granite from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. They also needed to get permission from state and local officials to intersect with Eden Street. Collins declined to share the cost of the project but said it was paid for by three private donors who specifically earmarked their funds for “Road Line.”

Work finally began this summer. Goldsworthy and a team of laborers have spent weeks digging a serpentine trench for the curbstones, cutting them and lining them up with precise calculations. Goldsworthy had to design the line around trees and other natural obstacles. The worked wrapped up on Friday. Goldsworthy, who returns to Scotland Sunday, plans to visit the work next year, and he hopes students, faculty and visitors engage with it on the campus. One visitor so far this summer was hospitality maven Martha Stewart, who shared photos in a blog post about a recent visit to her nearby home in Seal Harbor and on Instagram, where she said, in part, “we are all very excited about this project!!!”


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“It’s an invitation to walk on,” said Goldsworthy. “People’s movements along this line will draw this line again. It will add life to it. It will bring it to life.”

Collins announced recently that he plans to step down from his role at the end of this academic year. He said bringing Goldsworthy’s work to the college felt like “the perfect capstone” to his 12-plus years as president. He doesn’t know what the next steps will look like, but here too, “Road Line” feels right to him.

“The path is winding,” he said.

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