The Hippo


Mar 19, 2018








Kim Sunjin from Korea at work. Kelly Sennott photo.

Do you Dare?
Seventh Nashua Symposium flourishing

By Kelly Sennott

 Word about the Nashua Sculpture Symposium has finally gotten around. 

People aren’t scratching their heads anymore but instead are offering up their homes, their home-cooked food, their photography skills and their language expertise to the international artists who are staying in Nashua this May. In its seventh year, people are finally learning about the city’s annual, month-long event, and what’s more, they want to be  a part of it.
“This year, we’ve really blossomed,” said Kathy Hersh outside NIMCO on Pine Street Extension, where the artists worked in Nashua last week. “I think there’s a greater awareness of art and different cultures around here. Our goal is to have art as part of everyday living, art that you can walk by on your way to work, on your way to the library. But it’s also much bigger than that. It’s about the community.”
That day, the sun was out and the clouds were gone, but in that part of Nashua, the sky was not clear. It was dusty with chips of stone flying about, and it was noisy, too, as three artists — Amgalan Tsevegmid from Mongolia, Lasha Khidasheli from the Republic of Georgia and Kim Sunjin from Korea — were chipping and grinding away at granite that, in a couple weeks’ time, would become a permanent part of the cityscape of downtown Nashua.
Nashua is the only city in the country with an international sculpture symposium. Every year, artists from all over the world — oftentimes, from places represented in Nashua’s own diverse community — travel to the city to create permanent art for its downtown. Past works are scattered around Nashua, meant to provide life, culture and conversation.
It takes a lot of people to put something like this together. Hersh, a member of the Nashua Sculpture Symposium committee who served the city as a community development director for many years, named a few on that unexpectedly warm day.
The Milford Granite Company, she said, provided the stone the artists sculpted with, free of charge; Alan Leech, Ken Harvey and Susan Morse took photos; NIMCO offered their forklifts and materials (not to mention physical help, lifting and moving the stones); Bronze Crafts created bronze plaques for the sculptures; the folks at Mogi’z Hair Salon & Art Gallery cooked the artists meals; people from the Picker Building cooked a supper; and the Hunt Community created a magnificent food sculpture for the opening reception in early May. The Hunt Community also took in artist Tsevegmid, and locals Karen Goddard, Cornelia Eschborn and Peter Dybwad provided a temporary home for Khidasheli and Sunjin during the sculptors’ stay.
Two of the artists — Tsevegmid and Khidasheli — also participated in the Andres Institute of Art International Sculpture Symposium. Andres Director John Weidman meets many of the artists Nashua and Andres bring in through his own experiences in creating internationally. Weidman is very involved with this Symposium, as well, and is on hand for most of the time that the artists create.
On this third day of creating, the artists were already quite far along. Their artistic theme was “Dare to Create,” and they dared, opting even to keep working on their off day.
Tsevegmid’s sculpture was already beginning to look like his sketch. “Morning Mirage” is a bit similar to the piece he created in Brookline at the Andres Institute a few years back during its Symposium. It encompasses the symmetry in art that’s traditional in Mongolia, he said. When finished, the piece will be on the Riverwalk by Continental Square.
The youngest, most petite artist and only girl of the group, Sunjin, was all action. (“You should see her at work. Get some pictures of that,” Weidman said at the beginning of the visit.)
“We were anxious to see that we had a woman sculptress this year,” Hersh said. “John [Weidman] specifically pursued sculptors from Korea.” (The city has a Korean population, and Nashua and An Sung, Korea, are sister cities.)
Khidasheli’s piece was coming along too. His is a modern sculpture, abstract in its shape and form, meant to convey the evolution of stories, passed on from generation to generation. His will be at City Hall.
He says you shouldn’t worship art, but you should serve it instead.
“Art is for people,” he said. “It radiates energy. It will attract people. … Art without politics or religion is free and from the heart. … And I am doing this piece from my heart.”
Right now, there are 17 sculptures from past years installed in downtown Nashua, with three more on the way. 
“Some of them, you know exactly what they are. Some of them you have to interpret,” Hersh said. “There are a couple of sculptures that, over the years, have generated a lot of discussion. Some think that’s controversial, but really, it’s conversation, and it’s important to have those conversations.” 
As seen in the May 22, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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