This fall, the Marblehead Arts Association has transformed the King Hooper Mansion’s back garden into an outdoor sculpture exhibit containing six pieces of art created by members of the New England Sculpture Association.
The pieces were selected by local jurors Charles Gessner, a MAA patron and art lover, and Bruce Greenwald, a juried fine art member in the MAA and the local architect behind the Hooper Mansion’s restoration.
The mansion and garden, 8 Hooper St., are open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., and visitors are welcome to view exhibits free of charge or simply use the space to spend time surrounded by art. However, time is of the essence, since the exhibit will close Nov. 5.
Though many Marblehead art enthusiasts are familiar with the inside of the King Hooper Mansion, not so many know about the somewhat hidden outdoor space directly behind it. To find the garden, visitors must take a set of stairs on the right side of the mansion all the way down to a courtyard where the sculptures are arranged around a central fountain. There, people are welcome to take a seat at one of the tables or picnic benches and enjoy nature and art.
First thing upon entering the garden, the eyes are naturally drawn to the foremost sculpture in the exhibit, “Missing Person,” by Mark Wholly.
Standing at 68 inches and painted a leafy green, the frame of an empty silhouette feels like a portal to another dimension and adds an element of mystery to the garden.
Just beyond stands “Endangered Species” by Delanie Wise, an earthy, wood-patterned installation housing a variety of carved and painted critters peering out. A full rotation around the cylindrical sculpture allows an exploration of the over a dozen tiny woodland species in need of protection represented in the artwork.
A variety of different mediums are represented in the collection, including freestanding metalwork, carved slate and more.
Alongside the sculpture garden, the Hooper Mansion is currently hosting the annual Photography Member Show, composed of photos taken by juried members of the MAA. The mansion’s second floor is currently home to Richard Ventre’s ‘Objet,’ a collection of composite photography by Richard Ventre that highlights the objectification of women through satire. Finally, the 2023 “Fresh” show, curated by the MAA’s Youth Art Council, showcases the works of promising young artists with the ambiguous theme of “Fresh.” All shows close Nov. 5, so there’s still time to take a look.