Many art shows and exhibitions this summer celebrated the abundant talent found within the borders of New Hampshire. But the 12th Bridges and Connections International Sculpture Symposium held at the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline offers a more global appreciation of art.
The symposium, which will last three weeks and run until Oct. 3, is the vision in practice of two men: Paul Andres, the engineer and innovator who purchased Big Bear Mountain in 1996 and hoped to fill the mountain with sculptures, and sculptor John Weidman, who made the dream a reality. The two founded the Andres Institute of Art in 1998, and the Symposium has been happening since 1999.
As part of the Symposium at least one American artist and several foreign artists are invited to Brookline, where they live with host families, have cookouts in the evenings and, over the three-week period, build a sculpture.
The theme for this year’s symposium is “A Place for Change,” and the artists featured will be Gerard Motondi of Kenya, Esfandyar Moradpour of Iran, Gopinath Subbanna of India and Susan Abraham of New York. Although Abraham is from the States, she is no stranger to a passport. He work can be seen in Sweden, Mexico, Hungary and elsewhere.
“Their work spoke for them,” said Weidman, who knows some of the artists personally or knows people who have hosted symposia in which their work was featured, showing how tight-knit the artist community can be.
The public is invited to come and watch the sculptors work and ask them questions. Weidman said it is a great opportunity for people to see how artists from different countries work and interpret art. At the end of the three weeks, on Oct. 3, there will be a closing open-house where the artists are available to walk around and talk about their works. Weidman said the final product is as important as the process.
In the end, Weidman hopes the artists take back the different methods and technologies to their own countries. Once the artists leave, the sculptures will be on permanent display in the woods on the mountain, which have 10 miles of walking trails. Weidman encourages the public to take advantage of the trails and view the sculptures on their own terms.
Weidman said volunteers often adopt a sculpture and make sure the surrounding area is well kept. Much of the symposium is funded by donations, and Weidman said the Andres Institute is always looking for support from the community. Because Andres is a non-profit organization, all donations are tax-deductible.