Photo provided                                John Keller, Stewardship Forester with Washington Department of Natural Resources, examines a rhododendron bush in what will soon be the Price Sculpture Forest.

Photo provided John Keller, Stewardship Forester with Washington Department of Natural Resources, examines a rhododendron bush in what will soon be the Price Sculpture Forest.

Sculpture park aims for August soft opening

The combination of art and the outdoors is what many would say is unique to Whidbey. Merging both themes, a Coupeville resident and landowner has big plans for an outdoor sculpture park that he hopes will help put Central Whidbey on the map.

Known as the Price Sculpture Forest, the 16-acre park near Long Point will have artworks displayed along a trail system.

The park’s director and president, Scott Price, originally hoped to build his house on the land back when he purchased it in 2008.

After receiving a conservation easement for the property, Price said he looked for a way to preserve the natural woodlands bordering Penn Cove. Inspired by sculpture parks he had seen before, he decided to create his own.

“It’s already beautiful as it is as a forest, but then you come around the corner and get that sense of surprise,” he said about installing artwork to accompany the trees, many of which are over a hundred years old.

Although the park is not open yet, Price is currently accepting sculpture submissions and can be contacted through his website, sculptureforest.org. Sculptures can adhere to one of two themes, Nature Nurtured or Whimsy Way.

Unlike most art galleries, the Price Sculpture Forest is starting out with a zero percent commission, meaning all proceeds from the sale of sculptures go towards the sculptors themselves.

Apart from the cost of installing a sculpture, there will be no submission fees for the artist.

When it opens, the sculpture park will be free to access and open every day from dawn until dusk.

The Price Sculpture Forest is currently registered as a Washington nonprofit accepting donations. It is on track to receive federal status as a 501(c)(3).

Eventually, Price said he plans to offer guided and self-guided tours and is seeking volunteers for a variety of tasks around the park.

A soft opening for the Price Sculpture Forest is slated for late summer, perhaps August, depending on how the coronavirus evolves.

Price’s vision is to have a place locals and tourists alike can visit besides the downtown waterfront and the wharf.

“There’s currently nothing like it in Coupeville or the middle part of the island,” Price said, adding that Oak Harbor and Langley have sculptures in their downtown areas but Coupeville does not.

“For me, I think it will be a neat addition for Coupeville,” he said.

Photo provided                                Owner Eric Carabba of Backwoods Contracting builds a trail for the Price Sculpture Forest.

Photo provided Owner Eric Carabba of Backwoods Contracting builds a trail for the Price Sculpture Forest.

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