The recently opened Langlais Sculpture Preserve, located just 16 miles from Camden in Cushing, Maine features the work of Maine born artist, Bernard Langlais. Open year round from dawn to dusk, the unique, edgy and very imaginative sculptures Langlais created are engaging to both young and old. Langlais, who died in 1977 at age 56, was born in Old Town and is best known in Maine for his 62-foot Abenaki Indian in Skowhegan. Known by his nickname, “Blackie”, he settled in Cushing in the 1960s, moving away from a successful art career in New York. He began assembling sculptures from wood, populating his 90 acres with hundreds of pieces, mostly sculptures of animals and an occasional human figure – Richard Nixon, most notably. “Tricky Dick” is part of the installation in Cushing, along with “Local Girl,” Langlais’ whimsical homage to Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World.” There are a dozen sculptures along a small walking trail, which is open daily, dawn to dusk.
Langlais,’ widow Helen who died in 2010, willed the homestead and thousands of pieces of art to the Colby College Museum of Art which partnered with the Kohler Foundation of Wisconsin to preserve the art and the property. In turn, the Georges River Land Trust assumed ownership of the property and is managing its day-to-day operations as a nature and cultural preserve. The Langlais home and his studio, which was left virtually untouched after his death is also open with hours that vary seasonally.