Pittsfield Approves New Statue For The Common

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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The Parks Commission approved the new statue on Tuesday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new permanent sculpture, notable as the city's first statue of a female figure, will be featured prominently in the Pittsfield Common this summer, following approval by parks commissioners.

The commission voted unanimously Tuesday to accept a donation by the Pittsfield Garden Tour of Infinite Dance, a work by Carol Gold.

According to the groups's president, Anne Pasko, the statue was selected unanimously by the Garden Tour committee out of a total of 77 submissions received in response to a call for art put out early last year.

The criteria for the sculpture was that the artists have some connection to the Berkshires, and that the piece represent community in some way.

"She has a deep connection to Berkshire County," said Pasko of the artist. 

Gold, born locally, now lives and works in California, and is nationally known for her work in metal sculpture. Other works of Gold's have been commissioned for public places in Bakersfield and Loveland, Colorado, as well as at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The statue consists of a bronze figure of a dancer perched atop a large stainless steel ring, a ring the artist described as inspired by the rounded ring motifs in the partially redesigned Common.  

"It represents community, and it represents the connection of Pittsfield to the arts," Pasko told the Parks Commission.

The statue will be set on space currently occupied by the old brick structure that once served as a warming house, which is slated for demolition in May or June as part of the continued overhaul of the park.  This structure traditionally provided restrooms, but new restroom facilities are to be located elsewhere in the park as part of Phase 3 of its master plan.

The sculpture is described as being heavy and durable and its base will be well secured into the ground. In addition to its other attributes, Pasko pointed out that currently there are no female sculptures on public display in Pittsfield, and this will be the first.

Pittsfield Garden Tour hopes that this donation will pave the way for ongoing establishment of a proposed "sculpture garden" in this area of the Common park, which would entail several permanently installed pieces. The, along with the Artscape organization, have arranged for numerous temporary works of sculpture to be set at the Common over the past decade.

"It would be a great addition for Pittsfield," Pasko said in support of continuing this effort in the future.

While images were provided to the commission for approval, the garden club said that they are not yet prepared to unveil images of the sculpture to the public.

The Infinite Dance was one of three sculptures discussed by the commission Tuesday. The body also voted to approve a temporary new Artscape work in Park Square, entitled 15 Minutes of Frame, which will replace a previous Artscape piece there. The installation will occur sometime this spring.

Meanwhile in Park Square, a committee of veterans and other interested residents have created a brand new committee to spruce up one of the city's oldest pieces, the commission was told. The restoration of a Civil War monument which dates to 1872 will cost and estimated twelve to fifteen thousand to restore, parks manager James McGrath told the commissioners, and the group plans to launch a fundraising effort over the coming months to raise the money necessary to return the statue to its earlier glory.

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