Joining the Big Boys

Big boys, big tools, big beer. 

That's what I imagined Franconia Sculpture Park would be. 

Now that I've been here for five days, my love for the place has grown and I feel a little less intimidated. Though, if I get asked one more time if I "want a cold one"... I don't think I could do it. 

While I've enjoyed the gardening and landscaping, the education workshops have been a steep learning curve. On my very first day, I spent 3 hours under the hot Minnesota sun helping two kids, Natalie and Taylor, create their first ever sculptures. We had a little competition going on between the staff and whoever built the largest sculpture got an extra $20. I didn't end up winning, but managed to help Taylor build something 4 feet tall! I felt so energized by these kids and it reminded me of how quickly you could work if you set your mind to it.

The Northern Oracle: We Will Tear The Roof Off The Mother by Heather Hart

The Northern Oracle: We Will Tear The Roof Off The Mother by Heather Hart

Lift by Su Chen Hung

Lift by Su Chen Hung

Infinite Play by Risa Puno

Infinite Play by Risa Puno

Poetry Studio by Bridget Beck

Poetry Studio by Bridget Beck

Franconia is HUGE. At a staggering 43-acres, the sculpture park has over 100 sculptures created by artists onsite. I love wandering around the park and constantly discovering new works. Every time I take a walk, sculptures relate to each other differently. The wind, the sun and the heat all play a role in the way I see them, and more importantly move through them.

Summer brings herds of kids to the park everyday and you wouldn't believe the ways they find to climb over anything they find. It's so different from white walled museums and galleries where you can't cross the tape on the floor. Here, tactility is an important aspect of many of the works and it's so refreshing to not have a sign telling you to interact with it. 

I can't tell you how many times I've been told to get started asap on my sculpture, so in an attempt to start figuring out what to do, all of us interns went to the nearby scrapyard to suss out some of the materials we could use. There was everything from refrigerators to chicken wire in these large heaps of material, an infinite range of possibilities.

It's been really overwhelming in the short time I've been at Franconia, but I'm starting to get into the swing of things. I'll be juggling between researching about Sitka and documenting my work here at Franconia so expect that in the coming two months. 'Til next time!

Nicole Cheng3 Comments