November 5 2019

Selectmen Discuss Burlington Sculpture Park Proposal

By: Tad Stephanak

After years of research and planning the Burlington Sculpture Park Subcommittee presented its plan to the Board of Selectmen.

The Sculpture Park Subcommittee was created under the Planning Board with various community representatives as members. Having partnered with the New England Sculpture Association for advisement, the plan calls for sculptures on the corners of the Town Common and the field between the police station and Grand View Farm. Committee Chair Jon Sachs brought the proposal to the board. 

The Board of Selectmen representative to the Sculpture Park Subcommittee Nick Priest reported to the board.

“A lot of work and a lot of hours went into discussion on the logistics of how something like this might come to fruition,” Priest said. “The goal is to bring a level of vibrancy to the Town Common that will appease everybody. We also need to be cognizant of the type of art and making sure we don’t cross any lines.”

Selectmen Mike Runyan stated his support for bringing art to the Burlington landscape but weary of sculptures on the Common.  

“We are protective of that asset and I’m somewhat reluctant to approve something sight unseen that’s going to be there for years,” he said.

Runyan suggested using the area between the police station and the Grand View as a test site before placing sculptures on the common. 

Selectmen Bob Hogan asked about insurance issues. Town Administrator Paul Sagarino said the town would be able to provide coverage for injury or damage to the sculptures. 

Hogan was hesitant about the proposal’s vagueness on the subject matter of the art.

“It doesn’t specifically say anything about good taste and family friendly,” he said.

Sachs assured the board that the appeal of the sculpture is a priority.

“The committee is extremely concerned that the first appearance of sculptures in town be as popular as possible,” he said. “There’s not going to be any nudes or anything political. The first time out it’s really important that we get a positive response.” 

Sachs addressed the final approval of sculpture selections.

“We were assuming the committee would look at works and get some input from our advisor at the New England Sculpture Association,” Sachs explained then added, “I don’t see why we can’t bring final choices to you guys for approval.” 

Chair Joe Morandi stated his support of the concept but was apprehensive about consenting to sculptures just yet.

“I don’t want to approve anything where I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I’d like to see the concept on paper prior to them doing the work. That way we have a better idea of what actually is going to happen.”  

The board unanimously voted for a continuance on the matter to give time to work out some of the details and concerns.


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