Bergen Rocks on hiatus for year
An annual symposium that draws sculptors from all over the world to Bergen is taking a hiatus this summer.
“This year I’m sort of having a break,” said founder Morton Burke. Burke has run the Bergen Rocks Sculpture Symposium for the previous four summers. Three of the events were hosted at his home while last year’s was hosted at Red Deer College.
Burke said he’s taking the time to get caught up on his efforts to refine the sculpture gardens he has on his acreage.
“The site has been getting ahead of me,” Burke said. Last year’s symposium being held in Red Deer added an extra month to his work.
Bergen Rocks has seen professional sculptors from countries ranging from Italy to Mongolia head out to Burke’s home for a month-long session. Prospective attendees have to submit proposals to Burke, who selects the lucky few that can attend. For the 2011 symposium, he received 178 proposals for seven spots.
“It’s the funnest symposium in the world,” Burke said. He said it’s “a unique symposium in that it’s the first and only symposium in the world that was sponsored by a sculptor.”
It’s also unique in Canada – Burke said he spent five years trying to convince cities in Alberta to host a sculpting symposium before he decided to start his own. Burke pays all the expenses for the symposium, including the massive blocks of marble the sculptors chisel into their creations.
He’s not worried that going on hiatus for one year will diminish the demand for the event. Next year Bergen Rocks will definitely return.
“I’m sure planning on it 100 per cent,” Burke said.
Burke’s Bergen sculpture garden is open to the public. There is a $2 honour system admission fee.
“I’ve had people tell me it’s the best sculpture park in Canada,” Burke said. The garden is home to 19 monumental sculptures and several smaller pieces that have been produced over the years at Bergen Rocks.
Monumental means the sculpture is larger than life-sized, Burke said. The largest one there is 18,000 pounds, cut down from a 32,000-pound piece of marble.
To visit Burke’s sculpture garden, go south from the Sundre A&W for 6.4 kilometres. Then go west on Twp. Rd. 3.2 for 1.6 kilometres and then south on Rge. Rd.. 5.4 for 5 kilometres.