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The concrete sculptures created by teens in the UNiTY program 17 years ago have deteriorated to the point they are now unsafe.

'Guardians' Sculptures Being Removed from Natural Bridge Park

By Amber BesawCommunity Submission
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A mermaid created to guard the rail trail found a home at Natural Bridge State Park. But she and her fellow guardians will be gone this fall. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — In 2004, the UNiTY [United, Neighboring, Interdependent, Trusted Youth] program at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition was honored by the efforts of local youth to create an art installation called "The Guardian Project." 
 
This art installation, although originally intended for the Ashuwillticook Trail, was placed at the Natural Bridge State Park here in North Adams where it has remained for the past 15 years.
 
The concept for these art pieces was based on the individual youth's vision of a "guardian": a sculpture that would watch over, as well as honor and protect the natural beauty of the area where it was placed. Eight local youth participated in the project, offering their creativity and vision. The names of these artists are Sean Carollo, Emily Jaramillo, Christopher Winslow, Jordan Gardner, Anne Hyers, Erica Varieur, Erin Gerrity and Jeff Filiaut.
 
In addition to its artists, "The Guardian Project" was funded through the National Endowment for the Arts and the
Massachusetts Cultural Council with considerable local support from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, Delftree Corp., Grady and Jennings Concrete, Dean Grimes, H.L. Chesbro Co., Deanna Todd, and local artists Ron Hyde and Bill Botzow.
 
If you have had the pleasure of visiting this installation, you likely have seen the beautifully displayed photos and the information at the foot of the walking path to the clearing where the concrete sculptures have lived, documenting the process and meaning behind each of the sculptures. The pieces, many massive in size, are unique in size, shape and concept. The installation of sculptures created a space for quiet contemplation and a feeling of connectedness with the natural surroundings of the park.
 
Currently, these sculptures, and the installation as whole, are facing new challenges and a conclusion to their role as "guardians" within the park. Over the years, the elements of nature and passing time have taken a significant toll on the pieces. Many of these concrete sculptures are no longer recognizable as the original works and some are even facing significant fractures and missing pieces. Taking into consideration the inability to restore the pieces, there is also now a safety risk to those who are wandering in and around the installation. Some of the sculptures have rebar sticking out because of fractured concrete and most are not going to remain stable on their bases, posing a risk that they will fall over. 
 
As a result, there is a recommendation and effort to remove the sculptures to ensure the safety of those wandering in the park. As with many areas of life, there is a season, a time of creativity and vision and a time for realization and peaceful retirement.
 
When the Department of Conservation and Recreation reached out to us, at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, to determine the best course of action regarding the sculptures, with a desire to respect the work that these young artists had done, we knew safety was the priority and that it was unfortunately time to take them down. 
 
Installations are not permanent, they are created for a period of time. DCR has been a wonderful steward of this installation and there are no ill intentions here at all. 
 
With a quickly approaching timeline for DCR to complete this work, it is my hope that those who may want to get one last look, picture, or even have their first visit to the installation will now know that they will need to do it by Monday, Oct. 14. After that day, DCR will begin work to remove the sculptures at Natural Bridge State Park.
 
If you are one of the artists, or know one of the artists, who would want to keep your sculpture, you can contact DCR by calling Natural Bridge State Park at 413-663-6392.
 
It is important to note that artists who want to reclaim their work will be responsible for the removal of the sculpture with their own equipment and at their own expense, as well as any damages or repairs to the park grounds that removal may cause.
 
I just want to say thank you to our partners at DCR for their respect for the sculptures and the artists. It is unfortunate that the scope and size of the installation, along with the inability to restore the sculptures leads to the decision to take them down, however we are grateful for the time that they were the "guardians" in the park.
 
Amber Besaw is the executive director of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.
 
The guardians include a black cat by Filiault called "Superstition"; a crouching caveman with a spear by Carollo called "Siblings"; a giant bird called "Potions" by Varieur; "Hamadryad," a mythological tree guardian, by Gardner; "The Guardian of Water" by Hyers; "Angel" by Winslow; "Eye Spy," an eye surrounded by a tree, by Gerrity; and "Mermaid" by Jaramillo.

Tags: art installation,   natural bridge,   NBCC,   teenagers,   

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North Adams Happenings: Aug. 21-27

SAVE THE DATE
AUGUST 29th - DownStreet Art
DownStreet Art, the last-Thursday-of-the-month popup program of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (MCLA BCRC), returns to downtown North Adams from 5-8 p.m. on August 29, 2019. As always, DownStreet Art is free and open to the public.
More information.

AUGUST 30th - Starry Night Movies at UNO Park Presents: Hidden Figures
On August 30th, we are showing Hidden Figures. The story of "three brilliant African-American women at NASA who serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world" (Google).
The festivities start at 6pm. More information on activities and games coming soon. Movie will begin at 8:00pm. Bring pillows, blankets, and low back chairs to take in this incredible untold story under a starry night on the UNO Park lawn.
More information.
 
Wednesday 8/21
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Terrific Tots Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  

10:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Preschool Story Time North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information. 


11:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Little Wonders Baby Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information. 

5:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Simple Zero-Waste Swaps for the Bathroom: A Zero-Waste Workshop UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

6:30 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Concerts at WIndsor Lake Presents JP Murphy 200 Windsor Lake Drive, (413)664-6180 More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), GAMES, Trivia Night! Ramunto's, 67 Main Street, (413) 398-5152 More information.

Thursday 8/22
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), TUTORING, After School Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

5:30 P.M. (FREE), KIDS, North Adams Public Library Trip North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, Downtown Bike Around Anthony's Municipal Parking Lot More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Party in the Park Presents The Brave Brothers Noel Field, 310 State Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), BINGO, Musical Bingo at Mingo's Sports Bar and Grill 41 Roberts Drive More information.

8:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, The Chalet: Eavesdrop The Chalet at Courtyard D, MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.
Friday 8/23
7:30 A.M. (FREE), MEET AND GREET, Coffee Date at the NAMAzing Eagle Street Parklet NAMAzing Eagle Street Parklet More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Drop-In Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

11:00 A.M. (FREE, PARKING $5), KIDS, Kidleidoscope New England's Natural Bridge, 1 McCauley Road More information.

12:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

7:00 P.M. (By Donation), CRAFTING, Knitting Nights with Common Folk Common Folk, 73 Main Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($1 and up), GAMES, BINGO! North Adams Elks 487 Lodge, 100 Eagle Street, (413) 664-9039 More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), MOVIE, Movies Under the Stars at Colegrove Park Presents: The Goonies Colegrove Park Elementary, 24 Church Street, (413) 664-6180 More information.

8:00 P.M. ($18 - $44), MUSIC, Roomful of Teeth MASS MoCA, 1040 Mass Moca Way More information.

9:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Karaoke Friday! State Street Tavern, 167 State Street, (413) 664-9152 More information.
Saturday 8/24
9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. (FREE), MARKET, North Adams Farmers Market The Wigwam Western Summit, 2350 Mohawk Trail More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE, PARKING $5), TOUR, Natural Bridge History Tour New England's Natural Bridge, 1 McCauley Road More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), GARDENING, Gardening Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

2:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Motorama Cruise-in Concert Presents Whiskey City & Live Wire Noel Field Athletic Complex, 310 State Street, (413) 664-6180 More information

8:00 P.M. ($20 - $30), CONCERT, Cha Wa MASS MoCA, 1040 Mass Moca Way More information.
Sunday 8/25
9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. (FREE TO SPECTATORS, CAR REG. $15), STREET FAIR, 9th Annual Motorama Car Show Downtown North Adams, (413) 664-6180 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE, PARKING $5), TOUR, Natural Bridge History Tour New England's Natural Bridge, 1 McCauley Road More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Racks and Stacks- Barbecue and Vinyl Music A-ok Berkshire Barbeque, 2601 MASS MoCA Way, (413) 398-5079 More information.
Monday 8/26
1:00 P.M. (FREE), KIDS, Crafternoons! North Adams Public Library, 74 Church Street, (413) 662-3133 More information.
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