The large-scale sculptures on display at Mt. St. Mary Park have long added to the beauty of the 30-acre space. Beginning in June, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy the rotating collection of the Sculpture in the Park exhibition for an entire year.
Established in 2006, the exhibition not only serves to further recognition of the sculptural arts—pieces are original works, many from local artists—but the exhibition also fosters greater awareness and appreciation of the community’s parks.
In previous years, pieces in the exhibition were showcased from May to September, then removed and returned to individual sculptors in October ahead of the winter season. This year marks the beginning of a departure from that format.
“Some past maintenance issues that went along with usability of the park didn’t lend itself to a year-round program,” said Erika Young, public relations and marketing manager of the St. Charles Park District. “As the park district has expanded the permanent collection, installed flushable toilets and snowplows the paved trails, this park has evolved into a destination for thousands of visitors.”
Winter is a wonderful time to enjoy the sculptures, she added.
Made of durable materials such as bronze and stainless steel, the sculptures promise to bring a striking element to the park’s snowy vistas. Fourteen pieces, such as the whimsical bronzed character known as Mr. Eggwards, reside in the exhibition’s permanent collection.
Submitted pieces are selected by the Sculpture Committee, a group of dedicated art enthusiasts from the community, St. Charles Park District, and St. Charles Park Foundation.
“It’s very invigorating to be involved with a program that brings joy to so many people in the area,” said Bill McGrath, a local sculptor who is also serving his third year as a committee member. “I’ve truly enjoyed helping add to the cultural landscape, especially as Sculpture in the Park already enjoys such a good reputation, not only among residents of the area, but among sculptors from the Midwest and beyond.”
In addition to the year-long format for temporary pieces, sculptors who are chosen to take part in the show will benefit from a newly increased stipend of $1,500. Around 18 sculptures are selected to appear in the exhibition each year. All are placed at Mt. St. Mary Park, except for one piece, which is displayed in the veranda garden at the Baker Community Center.
Applications for the 2024-2025 showcase are accepted until April 4. Sculptors from all over the country are welcome to submit.
“While several sculptures are made from local artists, our show has frequently featured pieces from sculptors in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan and Minnesota,” Young said.
To celebrate the newest exhibition, an artist’s reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 19. The public is invited to attend though advanced registration is required. Tickets will be available this coming summer on the sculpture website at stcsculpture.org.