Time to include a visit to the Franconia Sculpture Park in your Summer 2014 little trips calendar.

In addition to watching the artists create their new work there are mold-making workshops, artist talks, concerts and Kids Make Sculpture Workshops.  The concerts this summer are Blues and Soul on June 28th, Bluegrass and Folk on July 12th, Global Rhythm on August 16 and Roots and Country on September 13.

If you have kids or grand kids you will want to take them to a Kids Make Sculpture Workshop.  Artists work with the kids building wood sculptures.  The kids design their own project, pick out their wood from a huge wood pile, and the artists show them how to use saws, drills and other hand tools to create their design.  My grand kids are older now but it was a special time for them when they were younger.  Here is a picture of my grandaughters’, Rachel Newville and Ellie Rohman,  project.  What little girls wouldn’t want an umbrella table?


The kids workshops are held on May 24th, June 21, July 19, and August 23.  Preregistration is required as they limit the number of kids participating to 30 and the cost is $30 per child.  The workshops fill quickly.  Call 651-257-6668 or email to sign up!


The Franconia Sculpture Park is a magical place that has something that will interest you regardless of your age or your interests.  The organization provides residence and work space to “emerging and established artists.”  Local, national and international sculptors converge on the park every year and create amazing sculptures.  Summer events also include a concert series.  The Park is open 365 days a year and it is free.


My first encounter with The Park was many, many years ago and I have watched it grow in number of sculptures as well as activities.  One of the activities for children is  “Kids Make Sculpture” workshop.   I took my grandchildren two years in a row.   They had the opportunity to create their own sculpture with the assistance of Franconia staff and resident artists.  At the time they ranged in age from 7 to 11 and it didn’t take them long to sketch what they wanted to make, select the wood from the wood pile and begin to sculpt.  With supervision they sawed, drilled and nailed.  Note:  if you should take your children or grandchildren to this awesome workshop bring a big car or pickup — you take the sculpture home.  One Dad came with a trailer.  It was his son’s 5th year and his son’s sculptures went into their own backyard sculpture park.

If you are in the area a visit to the Franconia Sculpture Park is a must.  You won’t regret it.

ARE YOU DOWN 1The highlight of the park is the permanent sculpture, “Are You Down?” by Michael Rolondo Richards.  Richards, an African-American was born in Brooklyn in 1963.  Most of his work has portrayed the Tuskegee Airmen, a squadron of African-American pilots in World War II who were segregated from the other Army units.  He created the “Tuskegee Airmen Collection” and the sculpture he is best known for is “Tar Baby vs St. Sebastian.”  The irony is that this sculpture portrays an airman being pierced by multiple airplanes and Michael Rolondo Richards, whose studio was on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center died on September 11, 2001.


  In 2000 Michael  received the Franconia Sculpture Park Jerome Fellowship.  It was during this time that he created “Are You Down?” which portrays three airmen sitting in a circle around a target facing outward.  This piece is the Michael Rolondo Richards Memorial.

As with most of his sculptures Richards cast the figures from his own body.



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