(This is the 14th story by this journalist in a series revealing “Hidden America” — worthy travel destinations unknown by most Americans.)
The sculptures at Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, Connecticut, apparently have found their own peace and don’t seem to mind the auto traffic speeding by on busy Interstate 95.
The 4 1/2-acre sculpture grounds displays more than 100 sculptures, and visitors are welcome free of charge. Access is a breeze for motorists, because the parking lot is seconds away from I-95’s exit 70, about a 35-minute drive from New Haven in eastern Connecticut.
Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds is the brainchild of Gilbert Boro, a sculptor, architect and design consultant who lives on the property.
“I believe that three-dimensional art should be handled, touched and experienced in three dimensions,” Boro writes on the grounds’ website. “I want people to not only view my art but touch and explore it. It brings me great joy to watch people of all ages interacting with my sculptures, which is why I created my own 4 1/2-acre sculpture grounds adjacent to my studio in Old Lyme, Connecticut. “
Boro explains why visitors may appreciate the artwork.
“Considering the environmental, social and political disorder all about us, I believe that public art brings some semblance of beauty to all of us who take the time to look,” he writes. “My full-scale outdoor sculptures, as well as other works by contributing artists, can be seen year-round on the grounds.”
Besides viewing the artwork, visitors can rest or picnic at the site, which is open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Pets are also welcome as long as owners tidy up after them.
Occasionally, there are special events. In June, for example, there was an evening community jam session in the studio during Old Lyme’s Make Music Day event.
The studio and grounds represent “a vibrant community environment dedicated to arts education and appreciation on the Connecticut shoreline,” the website states. “Our mission is to create a bond between art, nature and community by inspiring and promoting participation in the arts.”
The studio, which has “an enthusiasm for creating,” can be hired to create new sculptures or do restoration work.
“If you can dream it, we can build it!” the company exclaims on its website. “From engineering, metal fabrication and structural welding to the final details of grinding, polishing and powder coating, everything we do is handcrafted to the highest standards.”