Finn Island at Landmark College

A shark must be constantly moving onward to pass water through its mouth to the gills where oxygen is extracted. Similarly, forward momentum is essential for bringing a land art shark to life.

During the month of May, a 22 meter long sculpture surfaced on the quad at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. The dorsal fin of the granite and earth construction rises 2 meters above the MacFarlane Science, Technology & Innovation Center lawn. Once the cover plants are established on the earthen swells of the shark body, the piece will become an inviting land feature for students and faculty to congregate for outdoor classes and conversation.

A series of fortuitous events over the past year kept the project progressing from concept to completion. Landmark’s decision to bring art to the campus, especially environmentally focused installations, led them to my work. It was agreed that a form suggestive of the college mascot could be appropriate and fun. Casting about for a stone type that would be durable and shark-skin toned, I came up with a nearby source of quarry grout with an aged, dark grey patina. Recycled crushed stone for the core of the body, and topsoil to bed the plantings, was offered by college facilities.

For help making the production of the shark go so swimmingly I have many to thank, including, Dr. Peter Eden, Jon MacClaren, Kathy Burris, Corrado Paramithiotti, Kyle Skrocki, A.S. Clark and Sons, Fitzwilliam Granite Company, Paul Bowen and his 3-D design class for help with setting out the shark template, and especially, student intern, Rob Lutz for his dedication throughout the project.

With thanks also to the students, staff and faculty for stopping by during installation and making me feel a welcome member of the Landmark community.