The Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium is an artist in residency program that gives sculptors from Maine and around the world the chance to focus on a single piece of public art created in Maine granite. Its mission is to work with communities to bring to them large-scale contemporary granite sculptures. SISS provides communities with a method of obtaining these granite sculptures that would otherwise be financially difficult to acquire. The six-week symposium then provides a stipend, materials and technical support to each artist in a communal working space open to the public. The finished works are part of a collection that spreads throughout the region. The project is supported through donations from the local communities, general fundraising, grants, and in kind support.
More than a year before a symposium occurs, the SISS board negotiates with local communities for support to finance the coming symposium, to select a sculptor to represent each chosen community, and to arrange a site in each community where the finished sculpture, completed at the end of that year’s symposium, will be placed. These sites are outside, available to the public, and free for all to observe. The chosen communities agree to raise funds to support the symposium, the sculptors, and the art works created. Funding is private; no tax dollars are used for this endeavor.
Also during the year prior to each six-week symposium, sculptors from around the world submit their portfolios to members of the symposium board, who select six to eight sculptors from the more than 100 submissions. When the actual symposium begins, the sculptors work together at the designated site to create large-scale sculptures using native Maine stone as their medium. This takes place outdoors and in public. People from the surrounding area (as well as visitors from away) are encouraged to come to the sculpting site to view the progressing work and to become more informed about the artistic process taking place.
Four Symposia have taken place to date, resulting in 27 sculptures that make up the new Sculpture Trail of Maine. The BikeMaine tour takes us by 11 of these beautiful pieces of art, and if riders elect to take a ferry to Winter Harbor on the layover day, they will have the opportunity to see several more. BikeMaine is partnering with SISS to produce a map for BikeMaine riders that highlights the sculptures that can be seen along our route. This map will be provided to riders at the start of BikeMaine in Orono, home to 4 SISS sculptures.