By James Niedzinski
---- — The Cox Reservation in Essex is now home to a bird unlike any other — a flightless fowl that weighs 200 pounds and has a wingspan of 12 feet.
No, the Cox Reservation is not home to some dangerous new invasive species. It’s the host site for an award-winning installation art project titled “Flight”.
Haverhill-based artist Dale Rogers said he wanted to push his artistic abilities.
“The idea is not just to do large art project but a social benefit to the community as well,” he said.
Last year, the exhibit captured a $20,000 prize for the best use of urban space at the ArtPrize 2012 festival in Grand Rapids, Mich., and it placed among the top 25 overall among more than 1,500 entries in a people’s choice poll that included 47,000 voters casting 412,000 votes.
“Flight” consists of nine stainless steel birds suspended from cables that are held up by metal frames; the exhibit is supposed to be both mobile and move people as well.
Rogers said he wanted to challenge himself artistically, but the project itself has a low environmental impact wherever it is.
This is the third such exhibit Rogers has built, others being “The Big Dog Show,” formerly exhibited on Bradford Common in Haverhill, and “Metal Monkey Mania,” which hung from a bridge in Grand Rapids.
The metal birds reflect water and woodlands well, and the Cox Reservation in Essex meets both those needs.
He said the coastal wetland at the Cox Reservation is “probably the most beautiful location he’ll ever get to exhibit.”
The reservation, managed by the Essex County Greenbelt Association is pleased to host the flock.
“Its worked out great for both of us,” said Shelley Raymond, operations manager for the Essex County Greenbelt Association. Rogers first became familiar with the association when they held their “Art in the Barn” event in the summer.
Raymond said she can see the birds soar from her office window. The frames are set up first, then the birds are elevated with the help of a forklift.
“It looks great, its a great welcome to visitors,” she said.
The exhibit opens today and will be in Essex until Sept. 30; Rogers himself will give a walking tour of the exhibit on Sept. 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.