New Canaan Land Trust offers free 'Sculpture Trail' exhibit

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022
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Art meets nature along a Sculpture Trail in Connecticut, and the exhibit called "Open Space for Everyone" is free thanks to the New Canaan Land Trust.

NEW CANAAN, Connecticut (WABC) -- Art meets nature along a Sculpture Trail in Connecticut, and the exhibit called "Open Space for Everyone" is free thanks to the efforts of the New Canaan Land Trust.

The non-profit group acquires land in order to preserve it for future generations, and it's why open spaces that can never be developed lie within one of our area's wealthiest communities -- and the acreage is for all to enjoy.

"We need to be able to have everybody get the benefits of open space and being outdoors," Land Trust Board Member and Sculpture Trail co-chair Beth Sanford said.

Ten works are spread out in downtown New Canaan and on land preserved by the group. Sanford said the initiative began with a simple question.

"How can we open up our properties so that more people can see them and so they could be more accessible to all different kinds of people?" she said.

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The first such effort came at the height of the pandemic two years ago.

"Access to the outdoors became fundamental to our well-being," co-chair Nancy Bemis said.

Trail cameras recorded 10,000 visitors to the world of art.

"And the idea of the sculptures being there really helped to elevate the awareness within the community and the surrounding communities about what the Land Trust had to offer," Bemis said.

This year's presentation is a joint venture with the Carriage Barn Arts Center, where visitors will find a massive piece called "Brickhead Truth."

Three more sculptures are located on property once owned by the late Jim Fowler, who became famous thanks to his TV appearances on "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

For the naturalist turned celebrity, the more than six acres acquired by the Land Trust was a sanctuary.

"He brought his family up here, spent 40 years here with his family, two wonderful kids and grandchildren," said Sanford, who met with Fowler just 10 days before he died in 2019. "He said, 'I am so happy the Land Trust is taking such good care of the property.'"

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This same property is now open to the public for free, and you can enjoy the same natural beauty Fowler so valued -- and placing sculptures within this environment makes a visit there even more meaningful.

They will be up through October, so there's plenty of time to get there. The interplay between art and nature makes the New Canaan Sculpture Trail worth a special trip.

For more details, visit the Sculpture Trail website.

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