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Arts Group Looks To Spruce Up Outdoor Sculptures

GREENWICH, Conn. — From Byram Park to Greenwich Point, Greenwich is filled with outdoor sculptures, which are cared for by the Greenwich Arts Council.

The Arts Council has maps available at its headquarters on Greenwich Avenue. The walking tour features the 30-plus sculptures owned privately as well as by the town of Greenwich. In 1976, during the nation’s bicentennial celebration, works by many contemporary modern American sculptors were donated to the town. Other pieces include the George Segal piece hidden in the woods of Bruce Park, “Girl Standing in Nature.”

“Once the town takes something they need to care for it,” arts council Executive Director Paul Master-Karnick said. “A committee makes a determination whether the work is appropriate to be taken on by the town and then maintains upkeep.”

According to committee member Pat Ohnell, even some of the privately owned pieces are looked after, including “Borealis” located on the Greenwich Plaza near Greenwich Metro-North station. The Bruce Museum looks after its own, including the beloved “Yak,” that children like to sit on. The sculptures are cleaned, washed down with distilled water, lightly dried and then lightly waxed to protect them from the elements.

“Some of them are not in great shape and need to be restored, but we don’t have the money,” said Ohnell. “The Bolling Monument has had some damage over the years and requires extensive work.”

Ohnell said the council plans to have an expert examine each and every sculpture to get an estimate of repair and restoration costs. “It was done about 11 years ago, but it really should be done every 10 years,” said Ohnell. This will give the group a fundraising goal.

Another piece that needs restoration is the “Eagle” on the far end of Greenwich Point, which was placed on the site by J. Kennedy Tod in 1905 and restored in 1979 by artist James Knowles. “There’s no real access to it. It’s kind of a landmark, but it’s hard to get a grip on how to go about it,” said Ohnell. “It’s overgrown, there’s an osprey nest. We recognize that there are other priorities in the town.”

Residents and visitors can pick up a map at the Arts Council headquarters and do a self-guided tour around Bruce Park, to the schools and libraries, Montgomery Pinetum and Byram Park. One sculpture featured in the tour, “The Fisherman” by Lee O. Levine, was owned by 600 West Putnam LLC and has been moved.

Betsy Unger, another member of the council, said, “Every once in awhile I drive through town and see a sculpture that we didn’t include. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to make a new map to include more of them.”

Check out photos of all the sculptures on the tour, and send in your photos of sculptures you’d like to see on the Arts Council’s “Tour of Outdoor Sculpture in Greenwich” to ahelhoski@thedailygreenwich.com.

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