Unveiling noon Aug. 29

Sawyer sculpture headed for Sandy Beach

Aug 28, 2013

Rockland — The City of Rockland will place “Ridin’ the Rails to Rockland,” a sculpture made by Jay Sawyer, at the entry and overlook to Sandy Beach Park in the South End. The display will be prepared and opened, including a brief unveiling ceremony, Thursday, Aug. 29, at noon

Sawyer, a native of Rockland and resident of Warren, has provided the art and it is presented in cooperation with Maine Eastern Railroad and Dragon Products. He said the piece demonstrates the significance the rail and industrial sector has and continues to play in Rockland and the region's economy.

According to Sawyer, “Ridin’ the Rails” symbolizes the train bringing tourists to Rockland and Rockland being promoted as an arts destination. It also symbolizes his own and the city’s transformation. A graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, Sawyer sailed as a Merchant Marine for about a decade before starting his own small business that became his outdoor sculpture gallery, Stemwinder Sculpture Works & Gardens in Warren. Stemwinder is rapidly receiving recognition as a sculptural destination. Rockland continues to be the industrial and commercial center of Midcoast, Maine while offering a wide array of cultural and arts destinations.

“Rockland and I have been on parallel paths of transitioning from blue collar to cultural,” Sawyer said.

More than 80 percent of the spikes in “Ridin’ the Rails to Rockland” were acquired over decades from around the state. Maine Eastern Rail Road contributed enough spikes to complete the sphere and the material for the base as well. The lengths of track used for the base were pulled up by the artist and a Maine Eastern Rail Road employee from a section of abandoned track in Rockland specifically for this piece; markings on the rail indicate it dates back to 1914. Dragon Products contributed the crushed limestone for the base and funds for a plaque.

The City agreed to display the art as it continues to develop its waterfront and Harbor Trail.

“The Harbor Trail connects our community, our neighborhoods, harbor, historic downtown and is a common thread to our continued community economic development efforts," said Community Development Director John Holden.

Rockland has renewed its efforts to develop the Harbor Trail in recent months including new signage, as well as focused plans to design and implement sections of the trail in the South End and downtown. The development of the Ferry Terminal Park is one component of the Harbor Trail and also will be a location for displays of additional artwork.

“We are focused on implementing components of the Harbor Trail and associated waterfront development plans including the Harbor Trail and continued improvements to our public landing and fish pier. The offer by Jay demonstrates the City’s commitment to continued improvements to our open spaces and harbor assets,” said City Manager James Smith.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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