Sculptures titled “Peacock,” above, “Octopus,” below, and “Sentinel,” bottom left, stand front and center in the temporary sculpture garden on Main Street in Northeast Harbor. ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

Colorful steel sculptures enliven vacant lot

NORTHEAST HARBOR–An empty lot in downtown Northeast Harbor has been transformed into a temporary sculpture garden that is open to all. 

Six brightly painted, welded steel creations by the late internationally known sculptor David Hayes were “planted” on the lot at the southern end of Main Street by his son, also named David, about two weeks ago. They are to remain there on loan from the David Hayes Art Foundation through mid-October. 

For the past several summers, Schneibel Fine Art has displayed some of its Asian statuary on the lot, but that isn’t happening this year. Mount Desert 365, the nonprofit organization working to boost economic development and affordable housing, acquired the lot last fall.  

Sunne Savage, a seasonal resident of Northeast Harbor who owns an art gallery in Boston, has known the Hayes family for many years. One day earlier this summer she was driving down Main Street in Northeast Harbor and saw the empty lot.  

“I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, that looks pretty sad,’” she recalled.


A few days later, she suggested to Kathy Miller, executive director of MD365, that a few of Hayes’ sculptures might be placed on the lot. Miller ran the idea by the MD365 board. 

“We thought it would be nice to have some artwork for people to enjoy as they walk past,” she said. “Who doesn’t love artwork?” 

Both she and Hayes, the sculptor’s son, said the response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“I’m thrilled at how it looks, but more importantly, the reactions from passersby have been absolutely wonderful,” Hayes said. “It takes what is already a really lovely Main Street and just adds a little more interesta nice splash of color.” 


Savage said the sculptures “really give a little sparkle to the end of the street.” 

Hayes said much of his father’s work was inspired by the natural environment. 

“He would walk around with a sketchbook all the time and draw things he saw in nature,” Hayes said. 

Then, he would base his sculptures on those drawings. The sculptures now on display in Northeast Harbor include representations of a rooster, a peacock and an octopus. 

David Hayes’ career as a sculptor spanned six decades. He died in 2013. His work is included in the collections of more than 100 museums including the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum, both in New York.  

“I did shows of David Hayes’ sculpture on Copley Square and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall in Boston,” Savage said. 


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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