Happy dance for village sculpture project
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | August 13, 2015
The Downtown Haliburton BIA is investing $5,000 into bringing five sculptures to the downtown core, beginning this summer.
The BIA’s directors were quick to approve the financial request from Jim Blake, curator of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest, during their annual general meeting on Feb. 15. “One of the things we always wanted to be able to do was link the sculpture forest to the downtown core,” said Blake. “We have people travelling from all over the world to the sculpture forest.”
The sculpture forest opened 17 years ago in Haliburton’s Glebe Park, located next to the Haliburton School of Art and Design. Since then, it has grown to include 35 sculptures by 27 artists. The inspiration for this expansion project came from the town of Elora. Blake explained their BIA has installed foundations around the community for sculptures. A call for submissions was extended to artists.
“They’ve been doing this project for 10 years now, so it’s expanded quite a bit,” he said. The sculptures stay up for six months before being taken down. Blake said the sculpture forest committee approached the organizers of the project.
They were eager to share information and exchange artists with Haliburton. He said such a project would make Haliburton distinct from other small villages. When they first heard about it, the BIA board’s response was “resoundingly positive,” according to Blake. “People were dancing around the tables,” added chair Luke Schell.
Blake said the sculpture forest’s committee will take care of all aspects of acquiring the work and installing it. They will also promote the pieces online. The artists will loan them the art. The sculptures would be up between May and October. The money from the BIA will be used to install foundations. The BIA identified a few possible locations for sculptures, including the corner of Highland Street and Cedar Avenue (in front of Moose FM), near the Village Barn, and on the corner of Highland Street and Maple Avenue (by Rexall).
Blake pointed out that council would need to approve any installations on municipal land. The BIA will take $5,000 from its reserves for the project. “It’s not a problem for us,” said Schell. More than 10,000 people visit the sculpture forest each year. To learn more about it, visit haliburtonsculptureforest.ca.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.