HAVERHILL — A flock of giant-size metal sculpted birds that local artist Dale Rogers put on public display never took flight, although the 200-pound birds with 12-foot wingspans appeared to soar gracefully before landing Rogers a $20,000 prize in this year’s ArtPrize competition.
Suspended from cables attached to mounting poles set at various heights, the hefty shore bird sculptures captured the attention of the public as well as judges in the biggest art competition in the country. ArtPrize was held Sept. 19 to Oct. 7 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Rogers’ exhibit, titled “Flight,” won for the best use of Urban Space, one of the five exclusive Juried Awards selected by renowned art critics of the world. The display also listed in the Top 25 of the event’s popular vote.
“I’ve entered other competitions, but this is by far the biggest I’ve been in,” Rogers said. “And it’s the biggest prize I’ve won.”
“Flight” featured nine stainless steel birds weighing over 200 pounds each and having 12-foot wingspans. They were arranged in a serpentine layout with each bird mounted at varying heights in Ah-Nab-Awen Park in Grand Rapids. The scenic park was once the site of a Native American village.
Rogers is best known locally for his large iconic American Dog on Interstate 495 near the Ward Hill Connector, and his Big Dog Show exhibit that was on display in Bradford Common.
ArtPrize refers to itself as a “radically open competition and social experiment,” Rogers said.
Although the top prize was $250,000 for Best of Show, Rogers, 40, was thrilled with the prize he won.
“It was really the best award I could have received,” Rogers said. “As an outdoor metal sculptor, and where my work is evolving into large scale exhibitions, the best use of urban space was the most meaningful award to me. It recognized my ability to put on a large sculpture exhibition in an urban environment with high visibility and low impact on its surroundings.”