Preserving an art legacy

By Dagney C. Ernest | Sep 16, 2017
Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest Visitors explore the grounds of the new Langlais Sculpture Preserve, which held its grand opening Sept. 16 in Cushing.

Cushing — 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 georgesriver.org.

The familiar bears are even more imposing, thanks to restoration and a fresh coat of paint. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Local artist Susan Beebe leads children's art activities. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
People wait for shuttle rides to the new Langlais Sculpture Preserve in Cushing. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Local family trio Playin’ Possum performs during the grand opening of the new Langlais Sculpture Preserve. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Bernard Langlais’ sign once hung on the Rockport gallery space that has become Rockland’s Center for Maine Contemporary Art; now it leans against the artist’s former workshop. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
(Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Sep 18, 2017 15:22

Great photos. What ever happened to Blackie's Trojan Horse that was kept at the road's edge for so many years? (Local legend has it that Blackie put it there to irritate Wyeth who had to pass by on the way to his summer home.)



Posted by: Charlotte Davenhill | Sep 18, 2017 08:35

What a beautiful and affirming story! Thank you, Dagney!!

 



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