Calling all Makers and Artists! This is your kind of event

Art on wheels: Looking ahead to the first annual Rockland People’s Sculpture Races

Thu, 05/04/2017 - 9:45am

    ROCKLAND — Art doesn’t have to be so serious. And neither does it have to be stationary. One woman is about to roll out a wacky idea in downtown Rockland this summer and here’s hoping the artists and makers in the community will take notice.

    Kim Bernard, a sculptor, wants to start a Rockland People’s Sculpture Race in August. For the last two years, she has participated in Cambridge’s annual Sculpture Race, hoping that the kitschy idea would catch on in the Midcoast.

    A Sculpture Race is a short race (less than a mile) of pushed, pulled and pedaled artwork followed by an exhibition. Similar to a Bed Race, the focus is more on the art installation itself and the method of locomotion to move it.

    “In 2015, I participated in the Cambridge People’s Sculpture Race as an artist in residence in the physics department at Harvard University, so I pulled together a team of six people and over the course of a month and we created ‘Sisyphus’ a square-wheeled boats that traveled on wave-like catenary tracks,” she said. “So, the square wheels of the boat rotated and traveled over the tracks while our “wave serfs” would run ahead and continuously lay down track. “It’s not just about art. There’s a lot of physics and design and construction that went into this.”

    Sculpture Races take place all over the world. They initially took place in Cambridge in the 1980s and revived as a public art form in recent years.  “It’s more than just art on wheels, it’s about fun, performance and spectacle, in the best possible term,” she said. “It’s more than just a parade, it’s an opportunity for the public to be creative and inventive and come together for one day. It’s a way to bring art out of the gallery and museum and bring it to the streets. I really see this as a non-commercial people’s event.”

    A word about the wheels: “People can use bicycle parts, or any type of wheels such as casters, lawn mowers, wheelchairs, grocery carts, dollies, strollers, whatever can be altered or hacked to keep the sculpture moving,” she said.

    Bernard is not only organizing the first Rockland People’s Sculpture Race in August, but she will, once again, be a participant in the Cambridge People’s Sculpture Race on June 3. Three jurors will determine the winner. Bernard wants more than just prizes for speed. “I think there should be prizes for other categories such as People’s Choice Award, an award for Creativity and we’ll probably even invent some categories once we see some submissions.”

    Following the race will be an exhibition on Winter Street, in the CMCA courtyard and across the street.

    Bernard is also working with the Camden Middle School to put on a mini version of Sculpture Races for students on May 25 and hoping that some of the entries will make it to the August race.

    The first Maine People’s Sculpture Race will take place on Saturday, August 12.  Individuals, teams and community groups are encouraged to submit a design/sketch/proposal by June 1 to  Submissions will be reviewed by Jurors and applicants will be notified by June 30. For more information about the event visit: You can hear Bernard on the Chris Wolf show talk more about this on May 19, where you can call in and ask her questions.

    Additional photos courtesy Andrew Held.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at