Whenever lists of the “100 best places to live” are being compiled, among the criteria for ranking is always access to cultural institutions. Southern New Hampshire always ranks high in such lists for a number of factors. In the area of cultural resources, Southern tier residents are fortunate to be not far from celebrated art museums in Manchester and Hanover. But there is another art collection in Brookline, unique in many respects and deserving of a visit.
The Andres Institute of Art was founded in 1996 by local benefactor Paul Andres and well-known artist John Weidman. Its collection of over 70 metal and stone sculptures are distributed over 140 acres on Bear Mountain in Brookline.
Sculpture parks are always welcoming – and this one is unique, as each sculptor chooses what natural setting on the mountain will showcase his or her creation best. No matter how large the number of visitors, at the Andres Institute there is never a crush to view a particular artwork, as they are spread over miles of hiking trails on the hillside. A map showing the trails with levels of difficulty is available.
During the year, the Institute sponsors several interactive art programs; they have a Facebook page and newsletter to keep people in the know about upcoming activities.
Every fall, the Institute invites a select number of artists from around the world to come to their studio to create works for their collection. During this time, the public is invited to view the artists while they work, interact with them, join guided tours of the collection, and attend the unveiling of the newest artworks on October 7th.
The Institute, open from dawn to dusk, is at 98 Route 13 in Brookline; admission is free. For more information about the Andres Institute of Art and the 14th Annual Symposium, including a map of hiking trails, visit the Institute’s website.