PHS art project, now at The Mount, finds home at Conn. preserve
LENOX - A student sculpture project from Pittsfield High School is taking on a new life and soon will have a new home at an outdoor preserve in Connecticut.
"Resurrected Pine," which stands more than seven feet tall and is six feet wide at its base, was created in 2008 by a group of PHS art students as part of an educational program offered by SculptureNow, a local organization that presents sculpture exhibitions in the Berkshires and beyond.
As part of the program, the Pittsfield High group visited a sculpture by artist Robin Tost in Lenox.
"We were all inspired by Robin's piece and the way she had sculpted metal in a way that looked like a quilt," said PHS art teacher Barbara Patton.
The students were so motivated they created their own project: A triangular tree made of smaller triangles of scrap metal and copper, Patton said.
Each student carved and etched designs into individual triangles to contribute to the whole piece, with support from Patton and her fellow art department instructors. The PHS carpentry shop also built a frame to allow the sculpture to be hung outdoors.
The piece was first displayed that year in the Berkshire Museum's annual Festival of Trees Exhibition, and later in Patton's office.
Ann Jon, SculptureNow's executive director, first saw the sculpture during a visit with Patton earlier this year.
"When I saw it, I knew we had to have it in our new exhibition," Jon said.
The SculptureNow 2013 exhibition is on view at The Mount, Edith Wharton's estate in Lenox. The PHS students' work will be on display through Oct. 31 with the sculptures of 24 nationally acclaimed artists.
"It shows a wide range of work from accomplished artists balanced by the work of these young artists," Jon said.
The show opened on June 4, and the PHS students' sculpture caught the attention of Dan and Jane Roulier. They're members of The Mount who own and manage Worthington Pond Farm & Gardens in Somers, Conn. The 88-acre farm and forest land is privately owned but operated as an outdoor recreational facility that is open to the public and hosts many family- friendly environmentally conscious events.
The Rouliers purchased the sculpture for $750, not only because it was a good deal but because it is consistent with their property's mission.
"We thought it was pretty unique that it was designed by high school students, especially with its recycled components," said Dan Roulier. "This piece will fit in our garden very well."
Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount, called sharing the students' work with The Mount's visitors and community is "quite meaningful."
"We are proud to have played a role [in promoting it]," Wissler said.
Patton said the art teachers at PHS try to collaborate with community exhibitions and "incorporate as much as we can, students' work into the community."
She said although most of the students who worked on " Resurrected Pine" have moved on from PHS, the sculpture symbolizes a noble effort and legacy.
"The kids are very proud of themselves when they see their work on display, and we're proud of them and our department, too," Patton said.
Jon said SculptureNow typically earns a commission when a work from its exhibition sells. But in this case, all the proceeds will benefit the PHS Art Department.
To reach Jenn Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org, or (413) 496-6239. On Twitter: @JennSmith_ink