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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: May 22, 2017

Art abounds on Laudholm’s grounds

More than 64 sculptures can be found on trails and in gardens at the Wells Reserve.

Written by: Bob Keyes

Each day when Nik Charov arrives at work at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, he nods at the aptly named stone sculpture “Sentinel III” by Gary Haven Smith, as if to say, “I’ll take over for the next nine hours.” It’s almost like a changing of the guard, with Charov, president of the Laudholm Trust, assuming the watch.

Carved from a glacial erratic granite boulder, the sculpture stands tall against the lush green grass, rising 7 feet to greet people as they enter the reserve on foot. The center of the granite is carved hollow, revealing the reserve’s elegant yellow buildings in its stone frame.

It’s the first of 64 pieces of a sculpture walk installed this summer along an easy, accessible hiking trail at Laudholm, a beautiful York County reserve with 2,200 acres of protected land and several miles of trails with beach access. The exhibition, “Power of Place,” is spread out among a half-mile of trails closest to the visitor’s center and is designed to encourage visitors see the environment in new way. It is curated by June LaCombe, who installs sculpture shows across Maine.

“Power of Place” opens Friday and will remain on view into October. There’s an opening reception June 7.

"Millesime" by Cynthia Stroud, unique bronze and granite.

“Millesime” by Cynthia Stroud, unique bronze and granite.

LaCombe wanted to install work at Laudholm, she said, because the reserve’s rolling hills and woodland trails remind her of the trails at Maine Audubon at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, where she worked as director of education and where installed her first sculpture shows in Maine. She’s placed pieces out in the open in the gardens and grounds near the buildings, and hidden others away on the trails among the dense vegetation and trees. She hopes the sculpture surprises and delights people, causes them to pause and think about relationships among nature, art and humans.

About three dozen artists are involved, and their materials include granite, steel, marble and bronze.

“We’re trying to give voice to this place,” LaCombe said.

“Power of Place” is part of Laudholm’s Summer of Art & Science initiative, which also includes guided walks, talks, concerts, readings and other events. The programming is designed to encourage visitors to pay attention and explore nature and its role in shaping our lives and culture, Charov said. “Paying attention is the key,” he said. “We want people to pay attention to our changing natural world, to pay attention to the beauty in Maine that is always worth protecting, and to look at what happens when you do. This is a way to help people discover this place and make it a part of their lives.”

People are free to explore the sculpture in any order, but Laudholm has created a numbered map for self-guided tours. It begins with Smith’s “Sentinel III” and ends with an another aptly named stone piece by David Allen called “Portal.” Allen, who was artist-in-residence at Laudholm in 2015, created the sculpture on site, piecing together massive stones to form a circle of rocks that stands 6 feet upright on the horizon. Charov encouraged Allen to go big, and he did.

It is placed on a field near Smith’s “Sentinel,” creating interplay between the pieces, the land the people who walk between them.


WHERE: Wells Reserve at Laudholm, 342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells
WHEN: Opens Friday, on view through Oct. 16; opening reception 4:30 p.m. June 7
HOURS: Open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset.
ADMISSION: $5 adults, $1 ages 6 to 16, free 5 and younger
RELATED EVENTS: Curator June LaCombe will discuss the art at noon July 24
ARTISTS: Gary Haven Smith, George Sherwood, Wendy Klemperer, Andreas von Huene, John Bowdren, Lise Becu, Dan Dowd, Mark Pettegrow, Joyce Audy Zarins, Kate Chappell, Miles Chapin, Meg Brown Payson, Paul Heroux, Cabot Lyford, Jean Noon, Jac Ouellette, Eugene Koch, Patrick Plourde, Antje Roitzsch, Cat Schwenk, Jordan Smith, John Wilkinson, Meltia Westerlund, Sharon Townshend, Digby Veevers-Carter, Dan West and Stephen Porter.

“Embracing Earth,” Hawk Ridge Farm, 90 Minot Road, Pownal; on view through July 23, with sculpture placed in a country home, in the gardens and along trails; open house 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, with Maple Tree Talks dedicated to art and sustainability at 2 p.m. most Sundays. Speakers are, on June 4, Miles Chapin, sculptor; June 11, Dave Colson, agricultural services director of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; June 25, George Sherwood, sculptor; July 9, Ken Ryan, Maine Coast Taijiquan; July 16, Phil Coupe, co-founder of Revision Energy; July 23, Wendy Klemperer, sculptor; 207-688-4468 or


“Gary Haven Smith: Sculpture,” Ogunquit Museum of American Art, 542 Shore Road, Ogunquit; Smith has a solo show in the museum’s seaside gardens, though Oct. 31;

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