The Art of a Secret Garden in Sag Harbor

It’s like a secret paradise—one you’re invited to enter and explore. Behind the Dodds & Eder outdoor furnishings showroom in Sag Harbor, transforming what was little more than a barren area that had turned into a garbage dump, resides a beautiful sculpture garden, in which pieces from various artists have been placed throughout the landscape to create a calming and organic feel.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Stacy Pinero and Andrew Belding of Dodds & Eder for a tour of the new sculpture garden. It is so unexpected, this quaint getaway consisting of trees, flowers and fine art, the sculptures fitting right into the landscape.

“The pieces are meant to tie into the full bloom garden, and not compete with it,” explains Pinero, the firm’s sales and marketing coordinator. For this reason, there are only two color sculptures, the rest consisting of more muted colors in order to blend in better with the surroundings. The current pieces in the garden will remain through Labor Day, unless one is sold, in which case works will be rotated. The pieces that will take their places in the fall will be more appropriate to the fall surroundings.

Dodds & Eder Color SculptureThe sculptures, all beautiful yet different, range from metal and muted pieces to vibrant and attention-grabbing works. Dominic Antignano of East End Arts Council was behind the selection of the pieces. Last fall he accepted proposals from artists on Long Island and across the nation, and the result was a blend of works creating balance and harmony with the surroundings.

“There is no theme to the garden. The pieces were selected based on their scale, appeal, how provocative they would appear in nature, and whether or not they would be approved by the masses. We wanted to provide a sample of national work.”

Another goal was to leave enough breathing room. Strolling around, one finds the pieces relatively spaced out, and if it feels that there are spots where a sculpture should be, they have been left that way for a reason.

While speaking with Pinero, we sat on a standard black bench located in the right corner of the garden, which felt slightly out of place. “The idea is to come up with seating that has a dual purpose,” Pinero notes. “For example, a big boulder that blends into the garden but also functions as seating.” The black benches are only temporary, but for now they provide a nice place to sit, eat lunch or just take in the magnificent scenery. A general perk of the garden is that it is open to the public all day long, so anyone can come and relax and just enjoy the space.

Dodds and Eder Sculpture GardenThe sculpture garden has been well received thus far. “There is a big art community in Sag Harbor, but not many venues for 3D work,” says Pinero. Sag Harbor is home to many 2D art venues, but Dodds & Eder wanted to provide a space for sculptures to be presented and enjoyed. Down the line they hope to create an indoor showcase, selecting pieces that are more indoor appropriate to create a formal gallery setting.

With his eye on this outdoor project, Andrew Belding, the designer of the garden, was able to see something beautiful in the barren land where others saw only a place to dump their trash. Belding drew particular inspiration from the large willow tree located in the middle of the garden, which many people had destined for a different fate.

“A lot of people wanted to take down the willow tree, but I wanted to design around it,” says Belding. His goal was to go against what people thought they wanted in order to prove to them that something beautiful could come out of another vision. When walking into the garden now, the willow is directly in line of the path, providing a beautiful entrance to the secret paradise within.

Join artists Dennis Leri, Steven Zaluski and Jerelyn Hanrahan at the Opening Reception of the sculpture garden on Saturday, June 2, from 6–8 p.m. at Dodds & Eder, 11 Bridge Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. Phone 631-725-1175

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