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Sculpture by Bucks artist Mark Pettegrow unveiled at roundabout in Portland, Maine

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“Passing the Torch,” an art installation by Bucks County artist Mark Pettegrow, is featured prominently at a recently completed roundabout in Portland, Maine.
The city hosted a ribbon cutting Nov. 8, to celebrate both Pettegrow’s artistic achievement as well as this new public works project.
The artwork, commissioned in 2019 by the Portland Public Art Committee, includes three soaring bronze flame sculptures ranging in height from 8 feet to 12 feet and mounted on Maine granite boulders that are positioned atop a gentle rise in the center of the roundabout.
Lit from within, each “torch” creates a dramatic visual that, as Pettegrow states, “seem(s) to be the perfect thematic element to define a space positioned adjacent to a center of higher learning and tasked with becoming a new gateway into Portland. Since Portland was my first home after graduating from the University of Maine, having my work placed here represents something of a homecoming for me.”
The design, construction, casting, finishing and installation of the project took approximately two and a half years.
At the unveiling, Pettegrow thanked all of the people and organizations that made it possible for him to create this sculpture installation.

Explaining the title of the sculpture, “Passing the Torch,” he said, “As an artist tasked with creating a piece for the public I felt it to be very important that the piece be approachable and accessible to a broad range of people. For me that became a search for a resonant cultural symbol, and that symbol was a torch. Lighted torches are placed to each side of a path to show the way; they drive out the dark. A lighted torch leads you home.
“This was truly a collaborative piece of Maine art, sourced and fabricated in Maine by Maine craftsmen. And, as my grandfather in Machiasport used to say in perfect Downeast understatement, ‘Tha‘taint too shabby.’”
Pettegrow gained his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts studying under Bob Engman and Maury Lowe. He divides his time between studios in Bucks County and Kennebunkport, Maine.
Working primarily in wax, plaster and clay for bronze casting or direct metal fabrication, his sculpture is often commissioned on a site-specific or project basis.
See more of Pettegrow’s sculpture at pettegrowstudio.com.


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