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Maine has plenty of outdoor art, sitting in public squares and tucked into rural gardens. Here’s how to find some:
Check out Portland
Maine’s biggest city includes a classic, 1888 bronze sculpture of Maine-born poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The work, by Franklin Simmons, sits in Longfellow Square. A few blocks away, Oscar-winning director – and Portland native – John Ford is featured in his own bronze sculpture, this one from 1998. The sculpture by George Kelly sits in Gorham’s Corner, close to where Ford’s father owned a pub. The David E. Shaw and Family Sculpture Park at the Portland Museum of Art opened in 2017 and includes works by artists such as Jonathan Borofsky, Celeste Roberge and Anthony Caro.
Look for Langlais
Maine artist Bernard Langlais is best known for his wry, witty and sometimes massive wooden sculptures. See them at the Langlais Sculpture Preserve, site of his former home in Cushing. The town of Skowhegan also has a trove of Langlais sculpture on display outdoors, including the 62-foot Skowhegan Indian, erected in 1969.
Outdoors at the Farnsworth Art Museum, you can enjoy one of renowned artist Robert Indiana’s famed ‘Love’ sculptures in the garden and check out his flashy ‘EAT’ sign mounted on the roof. The whimsical sign was created by Indiana for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. At the nearby Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Jonathan Borofsky’s “Digital Man” sculpture gets a central role.
Art in the Garden
The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay has a permanent collection of contemporary sculpture in both the main and children’s sections. In Augusta, the Viles Arboretum has a trail also featuring contemporary sculpture.
Art of the Sea in Bath
Bath, one of Maine’s longtime shipbuilding centers, has two sculptures inspired by the ocean. The Maine Maritime Museum hosts a gigantic outdoor work of the ‘Wyoming,’ the largest wooden sailing ship built in North America. It was launched at the shipyard once operated at the museum’s location. William Zorach’s 1962 sculpture and fountain ‘Spirit of the Sea’ is the star of Bath’s City Park.
On the Trail of Art
The Maine Sculpture Trail, created by the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium, includes 34 large granite pieces in towns and cities 200 miles apart in eastern and Downeast Maine.