Viles Arboretum Hosts Annual Sculpture Symposium 

Viles Arboretum in Augusta is hosting its third annual sculpture symposium this week.

Maine artists will be on-hand to answer questions and allow the public a peek at their creative process.

Viles Arboretum in Augusta spans 224 acres and is home to countless trees and other flora, but it also features the state’s largest outdoor display of sculpture art. This week, they’re hosting their sculpture symposium, inviting schools and the public to take part in an educational art lesson while enjoying Maine’s natural beauty.

“We have about twelve nationally-known, Maine artists that work starting from scratch and during the week people can come and actually observe their art in the creation mode,” said Mark DesMueles, Executive Director of the Arboretum.

Many of the sculptures will be finished within the week, yet some artists spend years perfecting their art. Isabel Kelley of Portland attended last year’s symposium and says when sculpting granite, her creation often takes on a life of its own and changes throughout the process.

“As I’m getting into the finer details, I’m trying to figure it out, but I can still hear myself saying that I can’t quite see it yet. So it’s going to take me a little while to get closer, to get closer to the finish before I can finally see a picture that is clear,” said Kelley.

The symposium runs all week and is free for the public. With the arrival of cooler weather, meaning less buzzing bugs and more beautiful, vibrant foliage, there couldn’t be a better time to visit the arboretum.

Throughout the week, nearly 300 students from five schools will be creating sculptures of their own, which will be judged and put on display at the closing ceremony Saturday.

“We’re sculpting thing and she made an alligator and I made a heart.”
“I wanted to make a heart anyway.”
“And Keira said she couldn’t.”
“But I did anyway and she was so surprised when she saw.”
“So we’ve got a heart and an alligator?”
“Well it started out like a shoe and then it started coming out like an alligator.”

The finished sculptures will be displayed at the arboretum for the public to enjoy for many years to come.