March 13 2020

Burlington Sculpture Park Plans Move Forward

By: Tad Stephanak

                                                     images are Photoshop mockups

The Sculpture Park Subcommittee, created under the Planning Board with various community representatives as members updated the Board of Selectmen on their progress and the process of developing a Sculpture Park in the field between the police station and Grand View Farm. 

Before the board were Subcommittee Chair John Sachs, Burlington High School Art Department Head George Ratkevich  and Elisa Adams President of the New England Sculpture Association.

Both Adams and Ratkevich were tasked with putting out the call for entries of which there were a total of forty-five. Of those submissions twenty-nine were selected as semi-finalists. The elimination process included voting from high school and elementary students. Students from Marshall Simonds Middle School were unable to vote due to finals. Those twenty-nine submissions were whittled down to thirteen finalists of which six were chosen to be displayed at the Sculpture Park. 

The town will have the sculptures for two years with the option to purchase and possibly make the park permanent. 

Ratkevich introduced some of the high school students who participated in the selection process. The BHS artists told the board how they felt about having a sculpture park in Burlington.

“Drawing in art would be a good idea for the town,” stated Sydney Hovasse, BHS Class of 2021.

Reece McClean, Class of 2022, expressed her appreciation for taking part in the Sculpture Park. 

“Being in the process of voting and choosing opened my eyes and made me feel more included in the community,” McClean said. 

Gabrielle Mallard, Class of 2022, was also thankful for the inclusion. 

“I know a lot of kids that are excited and happy to know their opinion was heard and appreciated,” she told the board. “I know this park will represent the expression and inclusivity that the students of Burlington value and the committee as a whole.”

BHS Senior Aida Gachago related her enthusiasm. 

“Some art would really be good for Burlington. It would be a great place to hangout and take pictures as well. I’m excited for it.”

The board also heard a prepared statement from Fox Hill second grader Olivia Chiango who was there with her mother Megan.

“Seeing other people’s ideas inspires me and makes me think having art will make people want to be outside and also make people happy. I enjoy these places in other towns and wish we had them here.” 

John Sachs remarked on the sculptures that were chosen for exhibit. 

“Those are the six pieces we like. We think they’re safe, not dangerous. They’re not offensive, they’re colorful and they would make that part of town a delight for two years, during that time we can evaluate how much the town likes it.”

Selectmen Jim Tigges inquired about safety at the Sculpture Park. 

“How do we keep people from climbing on these?” Tigges asked.

Sachs spoke to Tigges concern. 

“Most of them don’t lend themselves to climbing. On the plaque that celebrates the donor we’d also put “Please don’t climb on sculpture,” Sachs said. “It is right next to the police station, hopefully that would keep any kind of rowdy behavior to a minimum.”

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the Sculpture Park with a dog statue to be placed on corner of Center Street and Bedford Street across from the actual Sculpture Park location. 

The goal is for a Sculpture Park opening ceremony in June.  


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