The City of Hallowell recently received a $10,000 Maine Bicentennial Community Grant to support the Hallowell Granite Symposium, a ten day event focused on the art of stone carving (specifically granite) planned for September 12-21, 2020 on the grounds of Stevens Commons in Hallowell. Six of Maine’s most notable sculptors will transform granite quarried in Hallowell into works of art inspired by one of the four “Maine200” Bicentennial themes over the ten day event. The public will be invited to interact with the artists on site at Stevens Commons daily and to watch the sculptures develop over time. Visitors will vote for their favorite sculpture and at least one work of art will be selected to commemorate the Maine State Bicentennial as permanent public art in the city of Hallowell.
The Hallowell Granite Symposium is a joint project of the city of Hallowell’s Arts and Cultural Committee, Vision Hallowell and the Maine Stone Workers Guild that will bring the art of stone carving back to Hallowell to educate and engage our citizenry, and reintroduce granite sculpture to our public spaces as permanent public art that reflects back on Hallowell’s history for current and future generations. Other key partners include Stevens Commons, Historic Hallowell Committee, and the Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead.
The Hallowell Granite Symposium is bringing together diverse groups: artisans, historians, city officials and committees, to commemorate Maine’s bicentennial by connecting to Hallowell’s unique past. A special presentation on the story of the granite industry in Hallowell will formally launch the symposium. The event will unveil an illustrated timeline of the history of the city depicting the introduction, expansion and ultimate decline of the granite industry to be displayed in a special history booth at the symposium along with tools and other artifacts from the granite industry. One well known example of historic Hallowell granite workers’ skill is the "National Monument to the Forefathers", a large scale sculpture located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. “Faith”, the central female figure is 36 feet tall and took a full year to carve in the Hallowell granite yards in the 1880s. One can imagine Hallowell citizens visiting regularly to watch Faith emerge from a massive block of granite. The Hallowell Granite Symposium will offer an echo of that experience to citizens today, providing the public with opportunities to have fun, interact with artists, learn about the art of stone carving and its role in shaping Maine’s first 200 years and the city of Hallowell.
Teaser Project: Jon Doody, Sculptor in Residence at Stevens Commons
To raise awareness the Hallowell Arts & Cultural Committee and Maine Stone Workers Guild jointly organized a “teaser” event for 2019. Every weekend beginning in June and continuing into the fall, Maine Stone Workers Guild member Jon Doody of Augusta worked at carving a sturgeon out of reclaimed Hallowell granite to raise awareness for next year’s Symposium. The public was invited to visit Jon’s worksite at Stevens Commons in Hallowell Saturdays between 10am - 2pm. These times overlapped with the hours of the Hallowell Farmers market, resulting in a welcoming, open, and creative community space. The project generated considerable interest in plans for 2020 and Jon will return in the spring to continue work on his sculpture.
About Maine Stone Workers Guild
The mission of the Maine Stone Workers Guild is to recognize and encourage excellence in stonework and to educate the community to the value of its members and resources.
The Maine Stone Workers Guild promotes the services and products of its membership and supports the growth of quality stonework and stoneworkers. For more information visit http://mainestoneworkersguild.org/.
About the Maine200 Grant Program
The purpose of the Maine Bicentennial Grants program is to support the interests, needs, and local creativity of communities as they plan local commemorations of the Bicentennial and to ensure that citizens throughout Maine have the opportunity to participate in Maine’s Bicentennial commemoration. Complete information is available at: https://www.maine200.org/