The town this week officially launched an art project that will bring new life—and light—to the old grist mill lawn.
Ultimately, the town will be hiring an artist, or artists, to build a sculpture made of glass, and preferably illuminated by solar lights, at the Dexter Grist Mill next to town hall.
“It will be a temporary work of art,” said Jeanne Prendergast, chairwoman of the Glass Town Cultural District Committee. “Whether you love it or hate it, it will be gone in three years.”
The cultural district committee suggested the idea to the town several months ago but it lay dormant during the COVID-19 shutdown, Ms. Prendergast said in a telephone interview this week.
“We asked that it be put back on the front burner because it will take a while to get through the process,” she added.
The process is indeed complicated, said Assistant Town Manager Heather B. Harper, who sculpted the request for proposals that went out this week. The RFP is seeking an organization to oversee the artist selection process.
In short, the town is seeking a third-party administrator to solicit artists’ ideas, choose a winner and oversee the $15,000 in grant money that will be paid to the selected artist/artists, Ms. Harper said.
The Glass Town Cultural District Committee hopes to be the winning bidder to oversee the project. If it is chosen, the cultural committee will then send out a call for artists’ proposals, Ms. Prendergast said.
The call for artists will go out nationwide, Ms. Prendergast said, although a local or regional artist could more easily oversee the artwork’s maintenance.
The parameters are that the sculpture should be:
Made of glass to honor the Glass Town Cultural District.
Be historic in some way to respect the downtown historic district.
Lit by solar lights.
A review committee, composed of designers, museum directors, historic experts and a liaison from the selectmen, will then review the submissions and choose the best among them.
Many months down the road, the town will then offer a contract to the winning artist or group of artists.
“I’m exhausted just thinking about it,” Ms. Prendergast said, and then she laughed.
“No, really we’re very excited about it and grateful to the town for all its work,” she said. “We’d love to see the artist or group get something started in the spring. We all need something fun to look forward to after COVID.”