SKOWHEGAN — Main Street Skowhegan and the Wesserunsett Arts Council (WesArts) have launched an open call for proposals to Kennebec on Fire, a public art sculpture project to be installed seasonally in the Kennebec River in Skowhegan. The submission deadline is Feb. 28.
Open to artists, with a preference for local talent, this call is for more sculptures of an installation that will ultimately include up to five or more sculptures. The budget for each sculpture, to be commissioned and completed by summer 2021, is up to $10,000. Artists may submit proposals for a complete installation of up to four sculptures with a maximum budget of $40,000.
“We’re excited to be able to invest in the community’s creative economy,” says project coordinator Saskia Reinholt. The project is funded by a $75,000 grant from the Maine Arts Commission and a $10,000 grant from the Maine Community Foundation.
The sculptures, inspired by WaterFire in Providence, R.I., will each include a fire brazier that can be filled with wood and lit during festivals and other events. Mounted to floating bases, the sculptures will be installed in the Great Eddy, just below the gorge, in Skowhegan and be visible from Coburn Park and Route 2 on the north side and from recreational trails on the south side.
The first sculpture was used as a prototype and was installed in the river in the summer of 2020.
According to Reinholt, Kennebec on Fire is designed to use public art as a catalyst to foster a sense of place and stimulate tourism. The project is derived from the Somerset County Rural Cultural Plan, which was led by WesArts and Main Street Skowhegan and completed in 2018. Ninety-five percent of respondents to the cultural plan’s survey said they are interested in experiencing the arts in nature, and 94 percent said growing tourism by promoting the region’s assets is important.
The full call for proposals can be viewed at WesArts.org/KOF. For more information or questions, contact Saskia Reinholt at [email protected] or (207) 218-2072.