By Elizabeth Bassett, Contributor
If you’re ready to bust out of your pandemic cave, two outdoor sculpture parks in Northern Vermont beckon. In addition, Shelburne Museum will have more access this year when it opens to the public on June 2. But back to the sculpture parks.
“Frank loves and collects sculptures,” Charlotter Elaine Ittleman says of her husband, a cardio-thoracic surgeon at UVMMC. “About four years ago we decided that we wanted to share the pleasure of our 50 sculptures with the public. Lemon Fair Sculpture Park was born.”
Located on Route 74 in Shoreham, Lemon Fair Sculpture Park offers a one-mile mowed path that threads amongst artworks from across the United States in addition to one sculpture from Argentina. The park is open seven days a week, free of charge, from May to November.
“Every weekend Frank mows the walking paths, stopping to talk with visitors. He loves the meet and greet part of welcoming the public,” Elaine says. “People love to come—the first weekend in May, Mother’s Day weekend, we had more than 50 visitors.”
Among the artworks on display are a metal horse by Panton artist Eben Markowski and an installation by David Stromeyer from Enosburg Falls. Stromeyer and his wife, Sarah, also open their sculpture park, Cold Hollow, to the public. “David and Frank were classmates at Dartmouth,” Elaine adds.
“Many of the sculptures at Lemon Fair are for sale,” Elaine says. “Interested collectors can contact the artist directly or we can connect them via our website.”
Parking and additional details are at lemonfairsculpturepark.com. Leashed dogs are welcome. There is no admission charge, but there is a box for donations used to support upkeep of the grounds. Lemon Fair is about a 45-minute drive from Charlotte.
Cold Hollow Sculpture Park in Enosburg Falls is farther from Charlotte but still suitable for a day trip. The 200-acre park not only serves as an exhibition space but also the outdoor workshop for sculptor and owner David Stromeyer.
“When David graduated from Dartmouth in the early 70s,” says David’s wife, Sarah Stromeyer, “Vermont was experiencing a rebirth with a wave of young people moving to the state. David pored over topographic maps of the state, looking for land suitable both for his work and as a backdrop for displaying his art. Ultimately he purchased a dairy farm in the foothills of the Cold Hollow Mountains in Enosburg Falls. The scale and contours of the land suited his needs.”
Stromeyer creates both in the outdoors and in his workshop. “David uses large rocks and pieces of metal to fabricate his art,” Sarah says. “The process can include a ‘rock drop,’ providing both a visual and acoustic experience. Cranes are suited to slow movement—imagine constructing a bridge or large building. David wanted big boulders to plummet from on high, settling into the earth,” Sarah continues. Stromeyer created the rock drop, suspending a large boulder from a clamp at the end of the crane’s cable. With a high-powered rifle he shoots at the clamp, opening it and unleashing the rock with a sharp report as the rifle fires and the boulder crashes on a bed of steel.
To celebrate five decades of David’s work at Cold Hollow, the Stomeyers had planned a 50th anniversary celebration in 2020, complete with a rock drop. The pandemic, of course, intervened and the event included only a small audience.
“For 45 years I thought of my sculptures as individual expressions,” David says. “With the formation of Cold Hollow Sculpture Park I realize that I have always been working on one big artwork, which is the park.”
Cold Hollow Sculpture Park opened to the public in 2014 and recently received nonprofit status. After being closed in 2020, Cold Hollow will open this year on June 12. The park is available to visitors, free of charge, Thursday to Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. through October 11.
Executive Director Rosemary Gill says, “We’re incredibly eager to welcome the public back to the park. Visitors are what make CHSP the park we love. Always, but particularly in 2021, we hope the park can offer restoration and invigoration to Vermonters and all our visitors.”
Directions and other details are on their website as well as this statement from the Stromeyers: “Our founding goal has been to provide free, world-class art experiences to all who come while conserving the art and land. Now a nonprofit, our vital focus is to secure the park’s role in Vermont’s cultural landscape for generations to come”.