Saturday afternoon, Sept. 16, the public was invited to the grand opening of the new Langlais Sculpture Preserve off River Road — and it attended in droves.

“We expected a lot of people to come, but not all at 2 o’clock,” said one of the numerous Georges River Land Trust volunteers.

Indeed, by 2:30 p.m., the field adjacent to the home of longtime GRLT trail volunteers Ida and Gary Clarke’s home was filled with cars and people lined up for rides via a shuttle van and a number of private vehicles to the preserve just down the road, while other attendees walked the less-than-a-mile distance.

The hundreds of visitors were treated to live music, children’s activities, home-baked treats and fresh-picked apples, in addition to an opportunity to walk the grounds and enjoy a number of restored wooden sculptures by Bernard “Blackie” Langlais, the Maine-born artist who abandoned oil painting and the New York art world for an intense decade-plus creating large wooden works on his Midcoast property.

Films of Langlais and his work were shown in the barn. The house and workshop of the late artist and wife Helen, were open, filled with artworks and tools; in the kitchen, local personal historian Megan Vigeant recorded oral history as friends and neighbors shared their stories about “Blackie,” who died at age 56 some 40 years ago.

While the buildings will be open at specific days and times, the preserve and trail — an ADA accessible path through a five-acre sculpture area, part of the larger 90-acre preserve — is now open daily at 576 River Road. Admission is free. For more information, visit