Wilderness Art

As you wind your way through the surprising sculptures in the Sculptures in the Wild complex outside of Lincoln, Montana, you feel just a bit like you are wandering through some ancient, megalithic site. Built using local materials–both natural and industrial–the sculptures on this 26 acre plot of pine forest play with the environment, creating something new and unique, and yet somehow evoking the heritage of the Lincoln area–the beautiful natural surroundings, and the mining, logging, and ranching that have defined the region.

In 2014, five sculptors were invited to craft installations which would reflect the heritage of the Blackfoot River Valley. The Sculpture in the Wild complex was created out of the success of that sculpture symposium. Today, paths snake around fourteen permanent installations which use such diverse mediums a pine logs and branches, newspaper, and even a derelict tepee burner from a local sawmill. In addition to these permanent sculptures, the park annually invites new artists–including an emerging artist from the University of Montana–who are given three weeks to create temporary sculptures. In 2017, artist-in-residence Patrick Dougherty used nearly fifteen  tons (or 10 or 14, accounts vary)of alder and willow saplings and branches to create a woven structure the size of a house. This year, Kate Hunt, of Montana, and Germany’s Cornelia Konrads will add their unique visions to the conversation. In addition, 2018’s composer-in-residence Adele O’Dwyer has carefully curated a series of concerts and performances to celebrate the Lincoln area. These will take place throughout September, both on site in the sculpture park’s iconic tepee burner, and in the hundred-year-old Lincoln Community Center.

By celebrating the landscape and industrial heritage of the Blackfoot River Valley, this hauntingly beautiful site makes room for conversation between people of all different viewpoints, and offers a “perpetual playground–a place to enjoy and be yourself” and creating “an environment for personal learning.”

The park is handicap accessible, open year-round, dawn to dusk, and admission is free. Visit the website for upcoming events.

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