BURLINGTON – A cultural renaissance is on the horizon in town after the Board of Selectmen decisively supported the addition of a Sculpture Park.
The selectmen formally approved a temporary 2-year stay for six sculptures on the modest piece of open land that sits between the Police Station and Grandview Farm.
Thanks to the members of the Burlington Sculpture Park Committee, substantial strides were made at the local government level to see this innovative initiative come to fruition.
Burlington Sculpture Park Committee Chair Jonathan Sachs presented the final plan for sculptures in the area of Town Common to the selectmen. The idea has been explored for the past several years, in large part to thorough discussions that have taken place around the town’s updated Master Plan.
Sachs admitted Burlington is known too much by outsiders for the Mall and various other shopping plazas, which is why he wants the artistic integrity of a sculpture park to let the world know there is another side to the community.
“Burlington has a healthy business climate, a strong community spirit, but has a somewhat low profile in terms of arts and culture,” said Sachs. “The sculpture park would be a step towards bringing the arts to a higher profile.”
Sachs expounded on communities like Cambridge and Somerville having stronger cultural profiles, which gives them an advantage in terms of locating high-tech firms there that hire younger people.
“The Sculpture Park will change the perception of Burlington among young professionals and businesses looking to relocate,” urged Sachs. ““Burlington doesn’t have a traditional town center like other towns, and we will never have one. What we have is a pleasant Town Center, which is perfect for a sculpture park in so many ways.”
The sculpture guidelines laid out by the Burlington Sculpture Park Committee call for fun, colorful, interactive pieces that are not easily broken or destroyed.
“The sculptures will not be political, or have sharp edges, and they have to be able to stand up to our weather,” Sachs detailed. “We will put up sculpture pieces for two years, which have been sponsored by Nordblom Company (Burlington company on 3rd Avenue).”
The sculptures will be made primarily of metal.
The final six
Teaming with the New England Sculptures Association and Burlington High School Art Department, the Burlington Sculpture Park Committee narrowed down its list of potential sculptures from 45 to six. The last sculptures standing include a large puppy dog, a cherry, and a sphere that glows in the dark (metal that will be covered in paint that glows).
“It is a mixture of modern, abstract and different colored materials,” pointed out Sachs. “They will be safe, colorful and a delight.”
Art students from the Burlington Public Schools were on-hand for the selectmen’s meeting to discuss their vital part in helping choose the final sculptures for the park. The students got to cast votes on the sculptures they liked, out of the 45 nominees.
“I get to experience art every day in school,” said one student. “A Sculpture Park would be a great way for residents to get the opportunity to also take part in that experience.”
Another student observed this Sculpture Park may help Burlington become more than the commercial sector mecca it has evolved into.
“Burlington is known for its industry, but if we bring sculptures in, it will help make the town more cultural,” the student stated.
Sachs confirmed the expectation is to see the Sculpture Park open this June, as part of a grand-opening scenario for the public to experience.
“Fundamentally, this is an experiment. We have the sculptures for two years through the money from donors [Nordblom Company],” professed Sachs. “We want to see how the town reacts. If they love it, then we will come back and try to figure out ways to make it permanent.”
The selectmen expressed great pleasure in hearing Burlington students speak in support of the Sculpture Park. They also gave much adulation to Sachs and the rest of the Burlington Sculpture Park Committee for sticking with this initiative and seeing it come to a realization.
“Thank you all for your passion and making this happen,” Selectman James Tigges said in praise to all the proponents.
Selectman Nicholas Priest, who was a member of the Burlington Sculpture Park Committee, articulated the importance of the town finally acting on becoming more cultural.
“We need to show that we are a cultural town, as opposed to just talking about it,” he avowed.
If any of the six sculptures degrade or break on their own over the 2-year period, the respective sculptor is obligated to make the necessary repairs.
The selectmen approved the 2-year setting for the Sculpture Park at the aforementioned location between the Police Station and Grandview Farm by a 4-0 vote. Selectman Robert Hogan was absent from the meeting. As part of the ratification, a condition was supported to locate one of the six sculptures, the large puppy dog, on the corner of the Common facing the Sculpture Park.
Preceding a round of applause from the crowd in attendance as a result of the long-awaited approval, Sachs professed he plans on being back in front of the selectmen in less than two years to provide feedback regarding the interest level from residents. If the desired level of interest exists, there will be a motion on the table to make the Sculpture Park a permanent fixture in town.