September on the North shore is ripe with options for enjoying the outdoors (apple picking pun fully intended) but it can’t be cider donuts and pumpkins all of the time. So consider checking out Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay, an annual exhibition, now in its 23rd year, displaying the work of 46 local artists throughout the grounds of Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, happening now through October 1.
The theme for this year’s exhibit is “Intersect,” which was left up to artist interpretation. And interpret it they did, via a variety of creative and thought-provoking mediums. The show, which is open to all artists and is not juried, is very much created by the artists who are a part of it.
“It’s important to us that the Sculpture at Maudslay show is open to all artists,” says exhibit coordinator Bert Snow, who also has a piece in the show. “We want it to be a place where any artist with an idea can join us and create a piece for the show. We think this encourages artists to explore and take chances, and that exploration leads to great sculptures that often surprise us.”
Snow points to a piece by a first-time Maudslay artist, Clifford Goudey, an engineer by trade, who constructed a 25-foot anemometer, a rotating device for determining wind speed.
As you walk the exhibit grounds (which are stunning in their own right) it is easy to allow yourself to be drawn from one piece of work to the next in whatever order pleases you. Each piece is identified with a sign that contains a QR code you can use to access the Maudslay Sculpture App on your phone and learn about the piece and the artist who created it.
Tasha Cough, owner of Fancypaints Decorative Painting and Fine Art is one of this year’s featured artists. As a painter, she is thrilled to have been a part of the exhibit in recent years.
“After years of enjoying Sculpture at Maudslay and wondering how a painter could possibly participate, I worked on the concept to string dissected paintings amongst trees,” Cough says. “I consulted with my friend and accomplished sculptor, Ryan Kelley, and with his help I’ve able to join the party.”
Cough says that weather and the exhibit’s outdoor location actually have their advantages. “The experience of each visitor can be different as both the daylight and the weather changes. Each year I love seeing how art is woven into the natural landscape of Maudslay. Last year my piece was high above a path and meant to be experienced as you walked up to and under it. This year, I wanted to open the view to the field for visitors to see from afar. I also wanted people to interact with the paintings and make their own composition” she says.
Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay is a free event and open to visitors of all ages.