LINCOLN — The outdoor sculpture park in Lincoln is hosting a "Festival in the Wild" this weekend.
Attendees can catch live music and see a new work in progress at Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild, a 26-acre park that opened in 2014.
Artist Patrick Dougherty and volunteers are in the midst of a three-week project building a new sculpture for the park.
The North Carolina artist has constructed sculptures from trees and branches around the world for art parks, public spaces and private commissions. Some are constructed on the roofs or sides of buildings, others are free-standing structures. Regardless of the site, Dougherty's work is fanciful and inviting.
The Blackfoot project will require some 10 tons of sticks and branches gathered by Dougherty, his son and assistants and volunteers. For all of his works, the artist enlists community volunteers, which he says helps create a sense of ownership for the people in the community. Portions of the completed sculpture will rise an estimated 18 feet from the ground.
On Saturday and Sunday, attendees can see Dougherty and company at work. On Saturday and Sunday starting at 11 a.m., kids and adults can join in on a "community weave" to build their own sculpture in willow.
From 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Americana band Back Adit from Libby will perform at the Montanan Steakhouse. Admission is free.
The park's fundraising auction will be held on Friday, Sept. 22, from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Montanan Steakhouse in Lincoln. You can sign up to bid online at 272alan.com. The items are viewable Friday at the steakhouse from noon to 7:30 p.m.
Dougherty, a lively and engaging speaker, will discuss his work from 7:30 to 8 p.m. The sculpture is set to be unveiled at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, followed by music by the Steven Gores Band.
The event is open to the public and food and drink will be available.
Blackfoot Pathways opened in 2014 as a destination to see art in the Lincoln area. Artist Director Kevin O'Dwyer oversaw a similar park in Ireland that helped preserve and celebrate the area's defunct agricultural history, and saw similarities with the decline of logging in western Montana.
Since opening, they've invited artists from around the world to build pieces that reflect the landscape and history of the area. In addition, two University of Montana students, Casey Schachner and Tyler Nansen, have constructed large-scale works as part of a residency with the School of Art.
The park partners with local schools for educational programs, giving access to art in a welcoming environment, where they're invited to touch the works and explore.