Since its inception in 1981, Harbor Square Gallery has become one of New England’s premier galleries of Fine Art and Contemporary American Craft. Prominently featured is the gallery’s remarkable collection of fine art jewelry in high carat gold crafted by some of the nation’s most gifted designers and anchored by the work of gallery director and sculptor/goldsmith, Thomas O’Donovan and his collaborative partner, Glade Sarbach Davis. Housed in one of the area’s most beautiful historic buildings, Harbor Square Gallery proudly welcomes visitors to explore all levels of this graceful old structure completed in 1912, as we begin our thirty-sixth year in the heart of downtown Rockland, just across from the Farnsworth Art Museum. From the outer walls to the works within, we think that you will agree, Harbor Square Gallery is indeed a place of beauty.
Adding the crowning jewel to the historic 1912 building, Harbor Square Gallery owner, goldsmith and sculptor Thomas O’Donovan, is delighted to introduce The Muir Garden for Contemporary Sculpture, which opened Memorial Day Weekend of 2007. With his vision, O’Donovan transformed the gallery’s rooftop into a public garden for the express purpose of bringing together people, nature and stunning works of art in a breathtaking setting that reflects the quintessential beauty of Maine.
Commanding a waterfront view of Rockland Breakwater and Lighthouse, Owls Head Peninsula, and the island of Vinalhaven, The Muir Garden for Contemporary Sculpture is designed to become a destination as visitors are invited to sit and enjoy the sculpture and surroundings of well-appointed plantings, boxwood hedges and five majestic trees, some of which will stand 25 feet tall at maturity. Employing the expertise of landscape designer Rebecca Jacobs, O’Donovan chose a variety of trees that would complement the shapes, textures and materials of the sculpture, as well as provide shade and comfort to the public. This led to a selection of a Winter King Hawthorne, a Summer Lilac tree, two River Birches, and the Seven Son Flower.
Dedicated to the late Maine artist Bryce Muir, the garden will initially feature sculpture of Cabot Lyford, Roy Patterson, James “Riv” Pyne, Leo Osborne, Jenilyn Johnson and David Holmes. The exhibit will rotate throughout the year, showcasing renowned sculptors from New England and around the world. The Muir Garden for Contemporary Sculpture will also include finely crafted furniture made by English and American furniture makers, such as Gaze Burvill, Douglas Thayer, and Weatherend.
O’Donovan comments, “The rooftop garden is my field of dreams: I knew if I built it, they would come. My vision for the garden goes back to the first day I stepped into the building in 1995. Not only was I buying a building in which to house Harbor Square Gallery, but I was also acquiring a “vacant lot” 24 feet in the air in the middle of the city with a water view -an area no one else seemed to see as an asset. It’s with this view in mind that I began to envision a sculpture garden that would express the primordial connection between art and nature. For example, when one sees a sculpture underneath a tree, one may begin to see the origin of the sculptural form in the roots and composition of the tree. It’s my hope that people will visit this sanctuary and reflect upon and appreciate the inspirational role nature plays in informing artistic compositions – and, indeed, our entire concept of what is beautiful.”
Jacobs notes, “What makes this garden exciting is Tom’s generous gesture of sharing with the pubic his vision of a botanically designed sculpture garden with a rooftop waterfront view. He could have very easily kept this space for his own private pleasure. Instead, The Muir Garden for Contemporary Sculpture is his gift to the city of Rockland where everyone can experience this uniquely configured space on two levels: (1) as a place of beauty and (2) as a new way to look at landscapes, waterscapes, architecture, nature, and art. In the end, the garden is a fusion of all five senses that promises to engage our imagination.”