Art In The Elements: Turn Park Art Space Opens
By Amy Krzanik
It goes without saying that you visit a sculpture park in order to view its sculptures. But, if that were the only reason, why would collectors go through the trouble of purchasing land and building a park, when they could house these artworks in a building – a venue people could frequent all year round? The truth is people love parks, and a well-designed sculpture park not only serves as a showcase for its acquisitions but as an enjoyable outdoor experience in and of itself.
The architects behind Turn Park Art Space (TPAS) in West Stockbridge, Mass. – Alexander Konstantinov and Grigori Fateyev – know this and factored it into their design of the new 16-acre space meant to serve both a cultural and a recreational purpose. Turn Park, whose goal is to highlight contemporary architecture and sculpture, is located smack in the center of town, on the site of a former quarry. The architects made use of the property’s natural features – its hills, meadows, steep cliffs and a quarry lake – as well as its stone. One large stone outcropping, resembling a giant’s toes, was kept, and the gatehouse (comprised of a gift shop and a gallery) was built atop it. The cool, shady spot will host a children’s animation festival this summer. Other large stones were moved to help create pathways, and some were repurposed as smooth gray tile for the gift shop’s bathroom.
The Gatehouse, the building that greets you upon arrival, is stunning. It’s bright white, and both sharp and rolling, mimicking its setting. The pathway leading to it from the lower parking lot acts as a mirror of the sky above. The rocks are round and evenly spaced, resembling clouds on land. Even the parking lot grass has been planted with a designer’s eye for detail, some long, some short. A meadow up above (the Piazza del Campo) has had the same treatment – its groundcover a custom-made seed mix chosen by local garden expert Naomi Blumenthal. The grasses resemble short, tousled hair and invite visitors to sit and linger.
Around back, large glass doors on one side of the gift shop slide open for access to a patio, called Brussels Square. From there, you can take the Loop path, which is wheelchair-accessible. Swing by the quarry (you’ll want to snap a photo) and view TPAS’s 8 current sculptures, most the work of Turn Park founders Igor Gomberg and Katya Brezgunova’s favorite Russian artists, and one piece by current Plainfield, Mass. resident Gene Montez Flores.
A small stone amphitheater, also on the upper level of the park, will be the site of future outdoor performances. Far-range plans include upper and lower playgrounds, a second gallery and a Precipice House built on a cliff. Workers already have begun rehabbing a home on the property, which will be used to house visiting artists.
Be sure to end your jaunt on the roof of the Gatehouse for a bird’s-eye view of the town.
More than just a setting to house their collection, Turn Park was created by Gomberg and Brezgunova to be community space, a gathering spot for people to meet and share ideas, and the scene of creative collaboration not only now, but for generations to come. A lofty goal, perhaps, but one that comes into focus more clearly when you visit the site.
According to the project’s executive director, Grigori Fateyev, and its assistant director, Sarah Cooke, this vision is one that the town of West Stockbridge has endorsed. “The town is excited,” says Cooke, “and it has embraced the fact that we’re here.” In this spirit, the Park offers annual memberships to encourage locals to use the grounds as often as they’d like, and to make Turn Park an integral part of their lives. West Stockbridge residents enjoy free admission on weekends. The cost for non-members is $15 per visit, and children under 12 are free. Quarterly “community days” for residents of the Berkshires and Columbia, Dutchess and other surrounding counties are in the works.
Meet the owners and the architects, and enjoy a live performance at Turn Park’s Opening Event on Sunday, May 14. A ceremony kicks things off at 11 a.m., followed by an immersive four-hour music and theater experience by Floating Tower, in collaboration with director and stage designer Doug Fitch.
Turn Park Art Space Grand Opening Event
Sunday, May 14 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
2 Moscow Rd., West Stockbridge, MA