NEWBURYPORT — An 11-foot xylophone will be among many site-specific sculptures spread throughout Maudslay State Park when the Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay show kicks off next Sunday.
This year marks the 23rd annual outdoor sculpture show at Maudslay, presented by the Essex National Heritage Commission and running until Sunday 2nd October.
A reception and tour, which includes artists and participants walking through the show together and stopping at each sculpture, will also take place from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, September 17.
This year will mark the 18th non-juried Maudslay exhibition by co-organizer David Davies, which he says has produced more than 850 works of art and is open to all artists with a connection to the North Shore and Merrimack Valley.
Davies said the fact that Maudslay’s outdoor sculpture has no jury gives anyone who wants to sculpt a chance to do so and find an audience along the way.
“We get such a variation of sculptures. We have kids doing the show, so they often do things that are a little bit simpler and then say someone who has a background in art and design. Then we get pieces really complex,” he said.
Sculptors have many mediums to choose from and this year’s group of 50 volunteer artists chose the theme “Intersect” to reflect their desire to explore material boundaries, concepts and themselves.
Waldo Jespersen is a member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery and will have an 11-foot interactive hyperboloid xylophone to view and play during the show.
“It’s like a twisting column that has hammers and is playable,” Davies said.
C. Peter Erickson will exhibit a two-story sand-colored fence strip, and a pair of large female busts gazing at each other and connected by braid foddered by mother/daughter team Cailla and Beth Quinn will be seen.
Visitors will also be able to take a look at an alien message in Morse code spoken with gourds by Newbury resident and ceramic engineer Chuck Mead.
The sculptors also include Montserrat College of Art teacher Caroline Bagenal, Pingree School math teacher Eric Olson, computer game designer Bert Snow, and professional artist Bonnie Jean Malcolm.
“Bonnie is always up front so she can let everyone know what they’re going to see,” Davies said.
Davies will also have a piece in the park’s pond designed to evoke the memory of crucifers.
“It’s made of wood and it’s an abstract piece that almost looks like bells sticking out of water,” he said.
The outdoor sculpture at Maudslay is supported in part by grants from the Cultural Councils of Amesbury, Georgetown, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley and West Newbury and won the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s 2005 Gold Star Award.
For more information on the show, go to maudslay.ning.com.
Writer Jim Sullivan covers Newburyport for The Daily News. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.