Transforming Special Places
The Sculpture Trail Creates New Ways for Our Community to Connect with the Land
You likely noticed some extraordinary changes at the Land Trust’s preserves this spring. It began at the Hannan Meadow, with a series of seven vibrantly reflective panels that lured in passersby. A few weeks later, an intricate wooden structure appeared in the Colhoun Preserve’s meadow, and a stone labyrinth was assembled in the woodlands of the Watson-Symington Preserve.
Before long, eight sculptures, selected from more than 70 submissions, had become part of New Canaan’s landscape.
The New Canaan Sculpture Trail was born from a partnership between the Land Trust and Carriage Barn Arts Center. It is a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and a new way for residents and visitors to connect with art and nature. The project also challenges us to rethink the ways in which we use and perceive open space.
“What a brilliant idea!” praised Susan Blabey, a longtime Land Trust supporter. “I visited at least four times…with friends and my grandchildren. It was magical! I felt that I had a real art experience.”
Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, thousands of visitors are having similar experiences on the Sculpture Trail. With each visit, our community’s connection with the natural world is reinforced, and support for future conservation efforts is strengthened.
SEEKING SHELTER FROM THE STORM
For many, the Land Trust’s preserves are a place for escape, reflection, and relaxation. Now, during the pandemic and with the addition of the Sculpture Trail, these special places are being appreciated by an even wider audience.
“The Sculpture Trail is a perfect way of introducing residents to the Land Trust’s walking trails. At the time of Covid, this exhibition transported one to unfamiliar outdoor spaces to bathe in the beauty of nature and winter at the creativity of the artists. I hope other will find the same wonderment and solace in these special places.” – Mona Gowdy, Longtime New Canaan Resident
LAND AS A CANVAS
The success of the Sculpture Trail comes largely from the creativity and passion of the artists. Each played off New Canaan’s natural beauty in a unique way, and built on an essential connection between art and nature.
For Thomas Berntsen, creating and installing Passages fulfilled a career-long dream. “This beautiful meadow has captivated me since I’ve lived around the corner” said Thomas, a Silvermine resident. “When the call for entries came out…it took like one second, because I knew the spot where I wanted my work to be.”
Thomas also wanted to ensure that his installation honored and complemented the landscape, rather than taking focus away from the beauty of nature. “I was so incredibly moved by being chosen” said Tom, holding back tears. “I felt honored and then I felt responsible for pulling this off.”
A LASTING IMPACT
The Sculpture Trail continues to attract visitors, and inspire a deeper appreciation for New Canaan’s scenic beauty. By the end of the summer, nearly 7,500 people had visited the six sculptures on Land Trust preserves, with thousands more likely visiting the sculptures at New Canaan’s Town Hall and the Carriage Barn.
“The Sculpture Trail is yet another in which New Canaan sets itself apart foremother communities. Projects like these show the ingenuity of our community, and are what make New Canaan a great place to live.” – Tucker Murphy, Former Director, New Canaan Chamber of Commerce
The Sculpture Trail also helped to progress the mission of the Land Trust, with a successful opening celebration that raised funds for summer internships and land stewardship projects.
“I hope that people, when they walk by, will look at this surrounding in a different way than they did before. They see another element interacting in this site, and they may look at a tree or admire the leaves in a different way.“ – Elizabeth Knowles, Co-creator of Bloom