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Art and nature are inextricably linked, for what is nature but a form of art? The natural world has long inspired artists and outdoor art enables us to connect more deeply with our environment. The Trustees of Reservations has outdoor art on many of its properties, including deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, which soon will integrate with The Trustees.  

       “Acquiring a historic and cultural site like the deCordova, which is set on conservation land and features an outdoor sculpture park with rotating works and exhibitions both inside and out is a natural fit for us,” says Barbara Erickson, President of The Trustees, who worked with the town of Lincoln to approve the union this past March. “It’s a win-win for both organizations and yet another amazing place for our mutual members and visitors to experience art and the landscape.” 

More outdoor art can be viewed in Ipswich at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, beyond Alicja Kwade’s Tunnel Teller artwork, an installation created as part of The Trustees’ Art & the Landscape public art series on display until April 1, 2020. On May 18, The Trustees, in conjunction with New England Sculptors Association, opened a 32-piece outdoor sculptural exhibit called “The Spirit of Place.” Twenty-one New England sculptors created the modern and classical works in metal, stone, clay, foam, and HDPE pipe, which you can see displayed in the estate’s gardens, along its woodland paths, and near historic landscape features through November 11.  

            Then, from June 1 to November 3, Fruitlands Museum in Harvard will exhibit artist Esther Solondz’s fragile milkweed sculpture,  “Floating Between Two Worlds” in the field near Fruitlands Farmhouse. The feathery milkweed structure will sway in the breeze, as well as in response to the movements of visitors passing by. Tiny hummingbird feeders inside and outside the installation aim to encourage local hummingbirds to visit and find shelter within.  

         Finally, several more of The Trustees’ properties will host outdoor art this summer thanks to multi-media artist and filmmaker Doug Aitken’s enchanting 100-foot reflective hot air balloon exhibition, “New Horizon.” The fourth artist to be featured in The Trustees’ latest public art series, Aitken will launch his mirrored orb at sunrise on July 12 at The Trustees’ Long Point beach property on Martha’s Vineyard. From there, the silvery round will begin its two-week journey across the state, reflecting the region’s natural beauty as it drifts, touching down at several properties, including the Crane Estate on July 21 through 22 with live events and musical performances commemorating each visit. Field Farm in Williamstown will be the balloon’s final resting place on Sunday, July 28.  

“A key focus of our mission is to get more people of all ages into the outdoors experiencing nature and culture – both of which have so many physical and mental health and wellness benefits,” says Erickson. “Adding outdoor, contemporary public art experiences through our Art & the Landscape series or other special exhibitions on our properties has proven to be a great success with our members and visitors who are often looking for unique and inspiring experiences.”