Broad Reach sculpture dedicated to Alex Castro
CHESTERTOWN — After five years of planning and funding raising, the Broad Reach sculpture and playscape is in place and was dedicated to Alex Castro Saturday for his work within the community.
“This imaginative steel structure is already doing what great art does. It is sparking conversations, getting a gambit of reactions,” said Kay MacIntosh, economic development and marketing coordinator for Chestertown, at the ceremony Saturday.
The large sculpture, which is located in Wilmer park, resembles a sail and a wave. It was designed and sculpted by David Hess.
Castro was the director of Washington College’s Sandbox Initiative and worked on public arts projects in Chestertown. He could not be in attendance at the ceremony but recorded a message to attendees from his new home in Florida.
During the ceremony, MacIntosh and Carla Massoni, of MassoniArt, thanked sponsors and donors for their help in seeing the project come to fruition. Meredith Hadaway read her poem “Why the River.”
Hess thanked the town for being welcoming to him and his family as they installed the sculpture.
The sculpture is the first installation in Chestertown’s Public Arts Master Plan, MacIntosh said, and is the first piece of public art installed in Chestertown since 1899. The last was the fountain in Fountain Park.
Tying Chestertown’s two public art installments together, Melissa McGlynn dressed as Hebe, the Greek goddess who is at the top of the fountain, and John Schratwieser, co-director the Kent County Arts Council, blessed the sculpture with Chester River water.
“It’s going to be really fascinating to watch this, but at the very least I think it absolutely, tremendously enhances this spot. It’s a great memento to Alex Castro and it certainly is going to spur on a larger conversation,” Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino said.
The sculpture was installed last week by Yerkes Construction and sod was put down by Anthony’s Flowers and Landscaping. MacIntosh said that though the sculpture is in place, people will not be allowed to walk on it until a few weeks when the grass’s roots have taken hold.
“Its been a long process,” Zoning Administrator for the Town of Chestertown Kees de Mooy said.
He said Chestertown did not have a playground when the project was conceived, so the sculpture was meant to solve that problem.
He said some funding for the project came from a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chestertown is one of two communities in Maryland that got an Our Town grant, de Mooy said. He said he thinks one of the main reasons the town got the grant was through Castro’s involvement in the Sandbox program, which mixed art and the environment.
Massoni said getting the project to fruition took time because of acquiring funding and all the other projects happening in town.
She said while nearly 50 percent of the funds of the sculpture came from Castro’s friends, it was the donations from local people that brought the fundraising effort to an end.
“The one that took us all over the top and was the most fun part of this fundraising was when the Chestertown High School Class of 1967 decided to make this the big gift,” Massoni said.
A few members of the Class of 1967 were in attendance at the dedication.
Massoni said the sculpture will be a great way to remember all the contributions and the legacy Castro left in Chestertown.
“I think I can say what we all know. They will be missed and they will not be forgotten,” Massoni said.
Artist David Hess, right, speaks on the development of his Broad Reach sculpture during the dedication Saturday at Wilmer Park. Also pictured is Kay MacIntosh, economic development and marketing coordinator for the Chestertown.
Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino speaks on the conversations the newly installed Broad Reach sculpture will start in the community.