As I passed through the winding streets of the village of Ossining in the late-afternoon summer heat, I watched the shadows dance across multiple landmark properties – the public library, Trinity Church, and the massive, castle-like high school at the center of town. My eyes lingered on the intricacies of the town’s historical architecture while I searched for the sprawling mile-and-a-half long sculpture garden that I had come to see—a staple of Ossining in 3D, the village’s new, monumental art exhibit.
Near the center of town stands Ossining’s municipal building, which is where I met Ossining’s Mayor, William Hanauer, and Village Manager Richard Leins. In an upstairs room they excitedly explained to me that the two-hundredth anniversary of the village inspired the idea of constructing a sculpture garden. The sculpture garden not only commemorates Ossining’s anniversary as an officially recognized village, but also the historical architecture of the town.
At the close of our meeting, they escorted me downstairs where five of the artists, whose work is featured in the sculpture garden, stood chatting in a circle. We exited the building, artists and all, to explore the town and view the twenty-five sculptures (all for sale!), which are integrated amongst the buildings across the town. I walked down the narrow sidewalks feeling like I was on an Easter egg hunt, trying to find the sculptures before they were pointed out to me.
The sculptures were not how I had imagined them; you know, grey concrete with severe lines and historical themes. They were refreshingly colorful, bold, and unique – one even had blue sequins on it! I found the sculptures intriguingly obscure, which left me with questions for the artists and curators. The tour concluded down by the waterfront where a large, geometric, fire-engine-red sculpture stood. The sculpture looked reckless in the midst of the calm Hudson River and quiet town – I had to know what it meant. Its creator, artist Eric Stein, was fortunately there to clarify, “Its about the energy that comes from the earth. And also from creativity, interaction with people and being positive verses being negative. It’s all about positivity.” The collaboration between the artists, council members, and property owners that enabled this artistic feat embodies the ideals expressed by Mr. Stein’s sculpture. Creativity and collaborative interaction can create something as whimsical and diverse as a village-wide sculpture garden – that’s something positive, isn’t it?