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Amherst Arts Commission launches fundraiser to secure permanent home for ‘Art in the Park’

Matt Evald Johnson loaned this sculpture, "Portal," to the town of Amherst for its arts biennial in 2010. Efforts are underway to purchase the artwork, which is installed in Kendrick Park.

Matt Evald Johnson loaned this sculpture, "Portal," to the town of Amherst for its arts biennial in 2010. Efforts are underway to purchase the artwork, which is installed in Kendrick Park. Purchase photo reprints »

In 2010, Easthampton artist Matt Evald Johnson loaned a scupture, “Portal,” to the town of Amherst for its Art Biennial. The artist lent the metal sculpture to the town for two years, and it was placed in Kendrick Park as part of the exhibit, “Art in Expected and Unexpected Places.”

Now that the two years are coming to a close, Terry Rooney, director of the Amherst Public Arts Commission, which sponsors the biennial, says she hopes to raise the money to purchase Johnson’s work of forged and fabricated reclaimed steel, and to give it a permanent home in the park. To that end, the commission launched a fundraiser, “Keeping Art in the Park.”

The sculpture, which is made from worn-down snowplow blades, “has a New England thriftiness to it,” Rooney said. “It’s such an iconic piece that I believe Amherst will be identified by this from now on.”

The cost to purchase the sculpture: $10,000. To date, Rooney says, the commission has raised $7,000, including a recent donation of $1,000 from the Amherst Cultural Council.

In February, the commission recommitted to the purchase, with “For the Love of Art,” a second fundraising effort aimed at securing the remaining $3,000 needed to purchase the sculpture.

Rooney says she hopes the effort to secure the sculpture will “spread the love around our community to support our local art and artists.”

For information, or to donate, visit the Amherst Biennial website, www.amherstbiennial.com.

— ALEXANDRA GRAZIANO

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