By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,505)
The Portland Public Art Committee is currently looking for home(s) for three whimsical bears who seek indoor, municipal and permanent placement(s). So far, these three wooden sculptures have not been easy to place. They are tall as well. The Public Art Committee would appreciate hearing from you if you have housing that meets their special needs.
“I’d really love to live at the Ocean Gateway terminal on the waterfront. The ceilings are high enough so I wouldn’t have to stoop like Doug Fuss does all the time and I’d have a great view of the waterfront. Can you help?” Bear asked mhn.com recently. The spot is unavailable because the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum uses the space during its holiday Polar Express fundraiser. “But bears are a common site along the route of the Polar Express,” Bear said. “I’d fit right in. The other two bears aren’t as tall – only 6 ft. tall. But they need homes as well.” A staff member at the railroad confirmed that it has no plans to move from its current site on the grounds of Portland Yacht Services, 58 Fore Street, Munjoy Hill. Previously, the railroad had announced plans to move to Gray, Me. herein.
Earlier this year, the Committee learned from Joe Soley, its former chair, that it is in line to receive multiple whimsical sculptures from the Estate of Bernard Langlais, Cushing. Langlais, who died prematurely in 1977, maintained a national reputation as a sculpter. A Maine native, he returned to Cushing with his wife, Helen, also a Maine native, from New York City where they had been living. (The Commitee has just dedicated $30,000 from their upcoming budget to the siting of the Langlais collection.) Many of the numerous scuptures on his 90 acre farm have deteriorated seriously because they have been outside and not maintained over the intervening years. Langlais’s wife Helen died in 2010. The benefactor of the Estate is Colby College, but it has enlisted the assistance of the Kohler Foundation, in administering the massive art collection.
In order to receive the three bears and other animals from the famed art collection, the city has to be able to provide appropriate sites for them all. Then the City Council has to vote to accept the gift from the Estate.
Please visit the NEW Portland Public Art website at www.publicartportland.org for more information. By the way the postposed website launch party will probably be held at Deering Oaks Park, the end of September.
Also, please visit Post # 1,320, dated 3/22/13 for more background information on the Langlais collection.