Hallowell Granite Symposium Organizers Announce Fundraiser to Keep Two Sculptures in Hallowell
Hallowell, Maine —
A month ago the ten day open-air Hallowell Granite Symposium drew an average of almost 150 visitors daily to Hallowell’s Stevens Commons. The convivial group of artists, invited from all over Maine, chiseled, sawed, sanded and polished local granite they had selected from the city’s stone pit to create bold and enduring works of art. They also graciously fielded questions, demonstrated techniques, and even invited spectators young and old to try their hand. Many repeat visitors came from across town and across the state to witness the sculptures taking shape over the course of the Symposium.
For anyone who wasn’t around during Hallowell’s bustling granite heyday back in the 1800’s, Hallowell’s first Granite Symposium was the next best thing to time travel. The quarry laborers and carving shed artisans are long gone, but during the Symposium, residents could once again experience the thrill of watching a human being transform a massive chunk of stone using strategy and skill. Adjacent to the sculptors’ work area, volunteers greeted visitors in a large ‘welcome center’ tent which showcased historic photographs and a brief history of Hallowell granite, and vintage tools and gear, along with information about the Maine Stone Workers Guild.
Vision Hallowell is spearheading a fundraiser to purchase two of the resulting large scale granite sculptures for permanent placement at Granite City Park in downtown Hallowell. “Bloom” by Isabel Kelley and “Flowing Through” by Mark Herrington won first and second place in a people’s choice vote during the symposium and were also selected for purchase by the Hallowell Arts and Cultural Committee. The $20,000 fundraising goal includes installation costs and permanent signage, and thanks to early donations from the Symposium organizing committee and volunteers, along with support from Kennebec Savings Bank, 40% of the funds needed are already secured.
Those interested in helping to keep the sculptures in Hallowell can write a check payable to “Vision Hallowell” and mail it to: Vision Hallowell, PO Box 43, Hallowell, ME 04347, Attn: Hallowell Granite Symposium. Vision Hallowell is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization so contributions are tax deductible in accordance with current tax law.
Both “Bloom” and “Flowing Through” remain on view on the quad at Stevens Commons, along with other sculptures completed during the Symposium, some of which are available for sale on behalf of the artists through The Harlow Gallery. They can also be viewed at the online sculpture gallery on the Symposium website: https://hallowellgranitesymposium.org/sculpture-gallery/
The Hallowell Granite Symposium was made possible by support from the City of Hallowell, Kennebec Savings Bank and Kennebec Valley Tourism Council, and by a major grant from the Maine2020 Bicentennial Commission. Three years in the planning, this collaboration between the Maine Stone Workers Guild, the Hallowell Arts and Culture Committee, Historic Hallowell Committee and Vision Hallowell was intended to be part of Maine’s 2020 Bicentennial Celebration but was postponed for over a year because of the pandemic. Other key partners included event host Mastway Development LLC, owner and developer of Stevens Commons, Vaughan Homestead Foundation, the Hubbard Free Library and The Harlow. During the event and before and after, behind the scenes, hundreds of volunteer hours made the whole Symposium flow smoothly. Organizers are already planning the next Hallowell Granite Symposium together, tentatively scheduled for September 2024.