Three Sisters concert will celebrate creation of new dragon labyrinth

  • Part of the dragon labyrinth under construction at Three Sisters Sanctuary. Contributed photo/Richard M. Richardson

  • Richard M. Richardson, an environmental artist creator and caretaker of Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen, helps Jon Bender, a metal artist, move his piece to get ready to install it in April 2018. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Richard M. Richardson, an environmental artist creator and caretaker of Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen, talks with Jon Bender, a metal sculpture, about where to mount one of Bender’s pieces in April 2018. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The dragon breathing fire at Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen.

For the Gazette
Published: 9/13/2019 12:04:32 AM
Modified: 9/13/2019 12:04:22 AM

GOSHEN — Built as an outdoor contemplative space that combines the creativity of human artists with the beauty and power of the natural world, the Three Sisters Sanctuary is adding another feature near its collection of unique gardens and eclectic installations: a huge dragon-shaped labyrinth.

With the labyrinth currently under construction, the sanctuary is seeking funding to pay for the final build-out. To that end, Three Sisters will host a fundraiser Saturday featuring a musical celebration with five bands playing from 1 p.m. until well into the evening.

Proceeds raised at the event will go toward the completion of the large, one-of-a-kind labyrinth that is composed of three individual labyrinths, all gracefully flowing into one and composing the shape of a dragon.

Owner and environmental artist Richard M. Richardson said the labyrinth will be on the property but not within the sanctuary proper, so that people can visit the labyrinth free of charge.

“I have always felt the necessity to build a labyrinth for the community,” he said. “People can use it when they need it without having to actually come into the sanctuary.”

Dating back over 4,000 years, labyrinths have been used in part for walking meditation for personal, psychological, and spiritual growth and transformation.

Richardson is building the labyrinth to help provide a nature-based refuge that will help visitors refresh and recharge, he said.

“My hope is that this will give people in the community a natural, peaceful place to go and find clarity in these trying times that we live in,” he said.

Richardson started thinking about the project a decade ago. After mapping out a plan for the installation, he flew a drone over the area to make sure the layout would work, and to his complete surprise, he said, the labyrinth appeared to be an outline of a dragon.

The sanctuary is well known for its iconic fire-breathing dragon, a fanciful 80-foot giant made of stone, metal and colorful glass, the concept for which came to fruition during its construction.

“I just looked at the picture and there it was, the second dragon to emerge while working with nature as my collaborator,” he said. “This project combines concepts that are thousands of years old, labyrinths and dragons, being brought to life and merging together.”

As he did for his other projects at the sanctuary, Richardson is using large local stones, handpicked for their shape, size, and sensual and artistic value, as well as spiritual or healing properties, for his three-in-one labyrinth.

“Labyrinths are few and far between,” said Richardson’s co-director, Alexandra Mello. “Many are small or have very manicured gardens with brick walkways, but this one is very unique to Richard and it is the only one of its kind.”

The installation is situated near a natural and scenic wetland, and when completed, visitors will be able to walk one, two or all three labyrinths, as each has an exit.

“When you walk all three, you arrive at the head of the dragon, where there is a white, 8-foot quartz stone,” Richardson said.

The dragon labyrinth is the sanctuary’s major project for 2019-2020. Over the last 25 years, Richardson has paid for creating all of the healing perennial gardens, stone-scapes, amphitheater, Stonehenge-like installation, water features and dragon No. 1. Now, the sanctuary is reaching out to others to help fund the final stages of the labyrinth.

The fundraising day of fun, friendship and live music will take place at the Three Sisters, at 188 Cape Goshen next to the DAR State Forest. Visitors are asked to contribute what they can, with tickets ranging from $20 to $40.

The musical lineup for the fundraiser will begin with The Buddy McEarns Band at 1 p.m. Tommy Mac’s Slowhand Band, an Eric Clapton tribute band, will play at 2:30 p.m. The sanctuary’s host band Stewart James and the Memphis Flyers will celebrate their 25-year history at the sanctuary at 4 p.m. The Seven Bridges Road, an Eagles tribute band, will perform at 5:30 p.m., and The Losers, a tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, will finish out the evening starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at the door. Please note that only cash can be accepted. A rain date is set for Sunday, Sept. 29.

In addition to the celebration, a GoFundMe account has been set up and donations can be made at For more information on this event or the Three Sisters Sanctuary, visit or call 413-268-3677.

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