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Home sought for Bergen sculpture collection

For the past five years, some of the world’s most talented sculptors have created monumental works of art in Morton Burke’s backyard.

His annual Bergen Rocks Sculpture Symposium has seen larger-than-life sculptures carved out of granite and marble, creating a sculpture garden behind his home in Bergen, a few kilometres south of Sundre.

In 2011, the venue was switched to Red Deer College and artists from China, Mongolia, Korea, Turkey and Italy showcased their talent.

Burke took a year off from the show last year, but has also made it known he’d like to find a permanent home for the sculptures. He would like it to be in Sundre, although he is also putting word out to other communities.

Town economic development officer Linda Wallace sees the merits of having such a unique collection listed among the community’s attractions.

“We’re taking a look at whether there’s a way to get them,” said Wallace on Monday.

“We certainly don’t have the money so we’re going to be looking into whether there’s something through Alberta Arts and Culture or anything along that line.”

There are 19 large-scale sculptures in Burke’s collection worth tens of thousands of dollars apiece.

Council passed a motion last month directing administration to look into the feasibility of acquiring the collection to create a tourist attraction.

“There’s a whole market out there that does recognize the value of what’s there,” she said, adding that the sculptors are internationally recognized artists.

“It’s a treasure, there’s no doubt about that.”

It would be a nice surprise for visitors to come across the sculptures in a setting like Sundre, she said.

“It just adds to the whole cache of having it here, to come upon it unexpectedly.”

Wallace said she’ll likely report back to council in the spring.



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