PERU — William Barriss Martin has displayed his
creative works all over the United States and Canada, but one of his favorite venues for creating
art is in schools.

“I find great delight in creating
something in a school,” he said Wednesday afternoon as he and his
son, Case, were installing a three-piece suspended sculpture in Dirigo
Elementary School’s library. “Budgets are low in Maine and I’ve
done major works. But I treat this with the same amount of energy and
intensity.”

For the past five months, he has been
designing the stainless steel, holographic-coated ceiling sculptures
at his studio on the water in Thomaston.

He designs and welds, Case installs.

“When I started working on this
project, I saw how my two grandchildren responded,” he said. “I
want it to pique children’s curiosity and challenge their
imaginations.”

The sculpture, comprised of
about 12 elements of stainless steel with applied holographic films,
is designed to move with the air currents on multiple levels.

“Every time someone comes in here, it
will look different,” said Case Martin, a building contractor who
lives in Easton, Mass.

“I live on the river. The sculpture
is dynamic with movement and flow. It reflects the movement of tides,
mudflats. It’s a metaphor related to nature, energy and the spirit of
things. It’s an abstract of a natural phenomenon,” said the elder
Martin.

The completed sections of the sculpture
are hung so they will swivel. The library’s skylight will reflect the
light, whether it’s bright and sunny or gray and overcast. The
sections range from about seven feet in diameter to two feet
in diameter.

Martin has works displayed in Toronto,
Rockland, and Marshwood High School in Eliot, among many other places. He
studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and holds
an engineering degree from the Case Institute of Technology in Ohio.

His work is the last of the four
commissioned by the district’s Percent for Art program when the new
elementary school was completed last summer.

The week before, Monhegan Island
artist Mike Stiler completed a 3-D, 15-foot-long piece made from
plywood that depicts a father and daughter paddling down the
Androscoggin River. In the background is a mill, and along the border
and throughout are moose and turtles.

Peter Prevost of Winthrop created an
abstract painting of children on a fair swing.

The other work of art was created by
Whitefield artist, Natahse Mayers, who created a four panel depiction
of connected roadways in the district’s four member towns.

The state set aside about $50,000 for
the school’s art. The state funded about $14 million for the new
school that is now a part of the Western Foothills RSU 10 district.

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