The City of Rockland, the new Rockland Main Street (formerly Rockland Downtown Alliance), and the Farnsworth Art Museum have collaborated on a project to renovate, and make into a public art space the park at the corner of Main Street and Park Street, next to the Brass Compass restaurant in downtown Rockland. There will also be a formal dedication of the park as Winslow-Holbrook Memorial Park, in honor of two World War I veterans from Rockland who died in battle. The first work of art to be displayed will be the most recognizable American sculpture of all time: Robert Indiana’s LOVE. The sculpture is scheduled to be installed on Wednesday, June 17.
The project began with the City of Rockland’s desire to renovate the park. The City approached the Farnsworth with the idea of creating a public art space. The museum agreed to select works of art by Maine artists for the newly designated space, and to install and insure them at the museum’s expense. The Farnsworth also offered $15,000 worth of granite pavers for use in the renovations. The museum has agreed to try to find works of art for the public space that it believes represent the best in Maine art, and that are also appropriate for an outdoor space. The costs of transporting the works of art will also be paid by the Farnsworth.
Lynn Archer, owner of Rockland’s Brass Compass restaurant, which looks onto the park said, “I think the public park is an amazingly wonderful thing. In the beginning it was an unused space, I was able to clean it up and now it’s used by thousands. On the week of the 21st of June, we have the Food Network coming to film us here at the Brass Compass, and to have the art work in place for a national viewing audience will be just wonderful”
"It's truly a pleasure for the City of Rockland to help establish a permanent place to display public art in our newly designated, 'Winslow Holbrook Memorial Park' said Rosemary E. Kulow, Rockland City Manager. “Having the opportunity to collaborate with the wonderful people affiliated with the Farnsworth Museum and access to such interesting art is a blessing most other community leaders can only dream of. My thanks are extended to all those involved in the process that helped make this happen, and I look forward to enjoying many exhibits of art in that space in the future."
Arthur Winslow was the first Rockland man to enlist after the United States entered the war on April 6, 1917. He was mate on a coasting schooner, having gone to sea at age 15. Albert Holbrook enlisted after having completed his sophomore year at Bowdoin College in the Class of 1919. He had, among other things, captained his class football team. Private First Class Winslow was mortally wounded in a battle in France on June 16, 1918. He was 23. Holbrook, a lieutenant, was taken prisoner after a furious battle to capture a German machine gun site. He died from battle wounds at a French hospital at the age of 22. His niece, Gaye Best, had this to say:
“My mother, Roberta Holbrook Best and I are very honored to have this park named in memory of her brother, 1st Lieutenant Holbrook and Private Arthur Winslow. We have hopes that this park will honor all veterans and always be open to the public. I think that it must be extremely rare to have a sibling available to attend a dedication to a WWI veteran, and I look forward to joining my mother at that dedication. We would like to thank all those who helped make this possible. We are also pleased to work with the Farnsworth Art Museum to place art in the park on a regular basis. We hope that the art will bring more and more people to enjoy the open space”
Said Farnsworth Director of Operations Jeff Charland, “It is personally very gratifying for me to live in a community where everyone seems so willing to collaborate on projects that benefit the community as a whole.”