No new scultures but public invited to Bergen

The chisels will fall silent this summer at Morton Burke’s property in Bergen — but there are still plenty of opportunities to see unique three-dimensional art.

The chisels will fall silent this summer at Morton Burke’s property in Bergen — but there are still plenty of opportunities to see unique three-dimensional art.

Burke is taking a one-year hiatus from running his annual Bergen Rocks Sculpture Symposium, which has attracted marble carving artists from around the world to Central Alberta for the past four Augusts.

But the public is invited to tour the sculpture gardens on his rural property, which feature some impressive, monumental works from previous symposiums.

And Red Deer residents can soon see three carvings from last year’s event, which was held at Red Deer College installed at the new Elements at River’s Edge development on 51st Avenue (near the Alpha Milk plant).

Developer Ken Wessel said he’s hoping to have the pieces placed by the end of August. They will be among seven on the site, including a large work in the front entrance of the project created by Burke with assistance from a Cuban sculptor.

It stands five metres tall and spans seven metres.

“It’s a very unique piece that will help to define the Elements project,” said Wessel, who praised Burke for enriching the area with his original works.

“We are lucky to have creative people like him who bring art and culture to us with no baggage. Just the art.”

Burke said he decided to take much-needed break from hosting the international symposium in order to get his sculptural gardens into shape with new landscaping.

He also wanted time to work on a few of his own sculptural projects, “for no specific purpose . . .

“I’ve been really busy . . . you know, life gets in the way of fun.”

He promised the fifth symposium will be held next year, likely in Bergen.

Burke is planning to issue a call for submissions from international artists in October.

In the meantime, visitors to Red Deer College can also see a stylized pink and ivory marble rabbit by Chinese artist Li Chao positioned near the cafeteria.

The Bergen sculptural gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on most days.

From Sundre’s A&W restaurant, travel south on Bergen Road for 6.4 km. Go west (right) on TWP Road 3.2 for 1.6 km, then south (left) on Range Road 5.4 for 5km.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com