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"Lilac Bush" by Zac Ward won the sculpture a $500 prize from the Village of North Bennington.

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BENNINGTON — While up to interpretation, Zac Ward calls his entry in the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show “Lilac Bush.”

The sculpture, made of metals and natural materials, resembles a large, misshapen bush with lilac-colored splotches painted on — and a house-like structure seemingly having crashed into the bush.

“In my opinion, it just sort of represents the area, growth, falling apart, how hard it is to live here and keep a house nice,” Ward, of Rupert, said. “I can’t say too much more than that because literally I think it looks like a lilac bush.”

He said he hopes the viewers have their own interpretations.

“They don’t need to see what I see,” he said.

Ward is winner of a $500 award from the Village of North Bennington to a sculptor with a standout piece in the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show. “Lilac Bush” is on display with the works of close to 40 other sculptors. The show, in the area of 48-66 Main St., North Bennington, is self-guided, free to attend and open at all hours of the day through Nov. 7.

Matthew Perry, executive director of the Vermont Arts Exchange in North Bennington, said the show has grown by involving more local sites, including the Bennington Museum and the Hiland Hall Gardens. He said the outdoor sculpture show’s location makes it unusual.

“Most shows of these kinds are out in the countryside, down long driveways and are more destination trips. NBOSS is right on a busy Main Street. You cannot avoid it when you go to the post office, walk to school or park to go out to eat,” Perry said. “It is accessible in many ways and the variety of work exhibited each year is a wonderful balance of abstract, figurative, colorful, thoughtful, provoking and with humor.”

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Sculpture show curator and sculptor Joe Chirchirillo said the show began as an opportunity for Bennington College students to experiment with and share their creative ideas.

“Although the show has changed over the years, I try to honor the ideas that the show began with. This show is an overview of outdoor sculpture including many types and styles of work,” Chirchirillo said in a statement. “It’s also a show where a well-seasoned professional artist could be showing next to a person just starting out.”

This is the 24th annual North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show, in its ninth year curated by Chirchirillo. Ward said he has been involved for many years.

“I love North Bennington and this show,” Ward said.

Other works in this year’s show include “Fiddlehead,” steel, by David Boyajian, and “Anthony,” steel, by David Skora. Perry said some of his favorites include Chris Duncan’s abstract piece “Mars” and a giant turtle by Jose Criollo titled “Lonesome George.” Perry said he loves to explore the wooded areas of the show and see how artists integrate their pieces with nature.

“Gary Humphrey’s ‘Bells’ is nicely sited on a groomed lawn amongst the industrial setting of the train depot. Here, his brightly colored, hanging steel tubes are set against the rusty iron relics and piles of creosote wooden timbers,” Perry wrote in an email. “Lee Williams’ sculpture ‘Similar Forms’ and Alisa Del Tufo’s ‘Whole Heart’ find common ground as they nest in the dark woods.”

More information is available at nbossvt.org, by calling 802-442-3328 or emailing Chirchirillo at jrc373@comcast.net.


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