Growing up in rural Greene County, Gerry Masse was never exposed to art. When he finally was, after working at a steel sculpture museum for nine years in England, he wanted to bring what he learned back to his hometown. His parents’ 50-acre land in the rolling hills of Solsberry seemed like the perfect fit.
At first, Masse and fellow artists installed their large sculptures along the trail, putting them anywhere but in their precious studio space. But the local reaction and international artists’ interest convinced Masse and his wife, Lisa, to establish the outdoor park in 2002.
Recently celebrating their 10th anniversary, Sculpture Trails aims to bring outdoor sculpture and art education to the community. With one of the largest iron foundries in the Midwest, the not-for-profit museum offers hands-on experience by hosting an annual aluminum pour open to the public, cast iron sculpture workshops for artists and field trips to local schools.
Currently, the museum only uses 10 of the 50 available acres. There are 80 outdoor contemporary sculptures, crafted by artists from around the world, line three miles of nature trails. Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until the sun goes down, the tour is free and self-guided, and in my case, self-secluded.
After a few wrong turns and some slight trespassing, I pulled up to an empty grass lot and an old barn. Sculptures appear right away, a reassuring sight, and guide you through the forest, never quite sure where they will take you next. I was in awe of the solitude, beauty, and simplicity of such an idea.
The trails truly are off the beaten path, as only three to four carloads of visitors come during the weekdays, and rarely at the same time.
When asked what makes Sculpture Trails so distinctive, Masse, 38, responded quite simply.
“Three miles of sculptures made by master sculptors from around the world… that’s pretty damn unique,” Masse says.
Three don’t -miss pieces –
1. Supporting Nature – by Gerard Masse
The only kinetic piece in the museum, it’s one of four sculptures on the trails made by owner and sculptor Gerry Masse.
2. Unfinished Business – by Jimmy Ogonga
This carved black walnut sculpture by Ogonga, who was born in Nairobi, Kenya, was the first piece installed from an international artist.
3. Richland Creek – Brian Thompson
Thompson based this piece on the shape Richland Creek makes as it winds its way around the property of Sculpture Trails.
Name: Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum
Location: 6764 N Tree Farm Road, Solsberry, IN 47459
Use the directions on the website… they won’t lead you astray or onto any private property.
Hours: Seven days a week from 10 a.m. to sun down
Guided tours available by reservation from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.