Coronavirus News: Connecticut 'Sculpture Trail' marks Earth Day amid coronavirus pandemic

NEW CANAAN, Connecticut (WABC) -- Half a century ago, April 22 was first designated as Earth Day. And earlier this spring, a group of citizens in New Canaan, Connecticut, were putting the finishing touches on a celebration of the 50th anniversary.

Their plans for a Sculpture Trail had to be put on hold after the coronavirus pandemic hit, but they found a unique way to mark the occasion anyway.

In a field bound by two busy roads, seven translucent panels stand tall to provide a beacon of hope and a promise of better days.

"It's called 'Passages,'" New Canaan Land Trust bpard member Beth Sanford said. "And as we go through this passage that we're all trying to figure out, it's really symbolic."

The non-profit has been dedicated to preserving the town's open spaces since 1967. Last year, the board members started planning a series of art installations.

"The idea was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by creating an outdoor art exhibition," Sanford said. "Bringing these artists and their wonderful diverse works onto our properties in a way that would engage the community."

Working with another local group, the Carriage Barn Art Center, the plan was to solicit works and install a series of them on the Trust's land.

"Needless to say, the world really changed and put so many things on pause," Sanford said.

Enter local artist Thomas Berntsen, who hails from the neighboring town of Norwalk.

Using a pristine field, he erected translucent panels of dichroic film with graphics placed upon them.

Now, people can drive by and see the series of sculptures without ever leaving their car.

It's art to admire and inspire, Sanford says.

"It's a way to say, you know, life can go on in different ways," she said. "And there are some silver linings.'"

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