(WSYR-TV) — Under a rare blanket of snow this winter lies hope. Cazenovia College’s Art & Design professor Kim Waale had hoped to spend her fall sabbatical as she has earlier ones, studying thousands of miles away.
Instead, due to pandemic travel restrictions, she wound up just minutes from campus, at the Stone Hill Quarry Art Park. She salvaged her sabbatical plans in a case of mutual aid.
“They didn’t know if they were going to be able to do any programming due to the pandemic,” Kim said. “And I think for a while they thought, ‘Are we going to have to close?'”
Jim reimagined an installation she created back in 2005, casting tree stumps in concrete. First, there was seating for an amphitheater, focusing on visitors on nature. Now, she’s relocated them to draw people through the breathtaking landscape.
“People expect the art to be the entertainment,” said Kim. “But in this case, the art actually provided a situation in which people would realize that nature was really the entertainment.”
Reimagining her earlier installation allowed Kim to find her purpose for the work without being a burden on nature.
“We manufacture stuff, and I really wanted to shift it from manufacturing more stuff ot manufacturing an experience,” said Kim.
She would see people stop and rest a foot on one stump to chat. Kids would drape themselves over one another to watch frogs in the bog.
Well, I felt like kind of a spy cuz I would go out there and just kind of hide out in the hedge row or in the woods and watch to see if people interacted with it, if people looked at it at all, if people didn’t really even notice it, and well, all of those things happened.Kim Waale
“They were using it and that actually made me really happy,” Kim said. “That’s it’s intent. It’s a very quiet sculpture. It doesn’t command the landscape. It’s available for people to use.”
The Stone Quarry Hill Art Park is just east of Cazenovia off Route 20. It, and Kim’s work, are open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk.