Sculpture races apparently a thing now, Maine is about to join the fun.
Artist Kim Bernard has organized the Rockland People’s Sculpture Race, which will be held on Aug. 12, but the deadline for proposals is coming up June 1.
Bernard is hoping to get a dozen or more teams of creative and fun-minded people to design, build and, ultimately, race kinetic artwork down Rockland streets for about a mile.
As a visiting artist in the physics department at Harvard University, Bernard got involved in the Cambridge People’s Sculpture Race as a participant in 2015 and as a judge last year. “It’s a lot of fun, and I wanted to bring it to Maine,” said Bernard, who lives in Rockland. “I hope it becomes an annual event. It’s really good for community.”
The rules are fairly simple: The artwork must be pushed, pedaled or pulled, and capable of traveling roughly a mile on a flat, obstacle-free course that begins in front of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art on Winter Street. Bicycles are not permitted, though bicycle parts can be used. The over-arching aesthetic is spectacle, and prizes will be awarded for speed, spectacle and ingenuity, said Bernard, artist-in-residence at the University of New England. Her studio practice explores the intersection of science and art.
Sculpture races have been happening in the United States and around the world since the late 1980s, with regional championships in Baltimore and California. The grand championship is a three-day, 42-mile “triathlon of art” in Humboldt, California.
They’ve surged in popularity, because they promote a street fair atmosphere with a creative, artistic purpose.
The judges for the inaugural Rockland race are a who’s who of Maine’s contemporary art scene: Farnsworth chief curator Michael Komanecky, Center for Maine Contemporary Art executive director and chief curator Suzette McAvoy and former Maine Arts Commission director and independent curator Donna McNeil.
“It’s about creativity and fun and the challenge of designing and building something that works,” Bernard said. “It’s such a cool event, and such a pure event, and it’s not just for artists. We call it the Rockland People’s Sculpture Race because we want a cross-section of people involved, from across the community. You can make it as easy or as complicated as you want it to be.”
For details, visit rocklandsculpturerace.org.
The race is Aug. 12 in downtown Rockland, but the deadline for proposals is June 1. Individuals, teams and community groups should submit a design, sketch or proposal by June 1 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jurors will review submission, and applicants will be notified by June 31.