Salt ’n Spar

Wiscasset, Waterville metal sculptures share maker

Fri, 05/27/2022 - 8:45am

On a recent Saturday, Mrs. Di Vece and I made a trip to Waterville, specifically so she could buy yarn and knitting patterns at the Yardgoods Center which is downtown on the concourse. If you watch MeTV then you’ve probably seen their television commercials introduced by the store’s owner who can usually be found in the store behind the register.

While Mrs. Di Vece was shopping, I walked downtown along Main Street and soon found myself on the waterfront at the River Walk, a large park which overlooks the Kennebec River. A number of interpretative panels tell the city’s history, when paper mills lined the waterfront and there were logging drives. There’s a hiking trail too, that crosses the river over an iron suspension bridge called the “Two Cent Bridge” and into the city of Winslow where the walking trail continues.

A short distance from the park’s gazebo is a towering structure of polished metal. It’s here we find a Wiscasset connection, for this abstract sculpture was the work of artist Roger L. Majorowicz of Whitefield. It was the late Mr. Majorowicz, who died in 2014, who made the very unique red iron sculpture that sits in the memorial garden at Wiscasset Middle High School. Unfortunately, not many people know this because the sculpture has no identification on it.

A few months back, Shalimar Chasse, who teaches art at WMHS, asked me what I knew about the sculpture, specifically who had made it and when it had been placed in the garden where students often sit to do their work. Her plan, I think, was to make a panel to put by the sculpture explaining about it and its artist.

The story of WMHS’s iron sculpture goes back to September 1985. That’s when David Chase, a former art teacher at then Wiscasset High School, arranged to have his friend Roger Majorowicz serve as a visiting “artist in residence” while he was on a year-long sabbatical. Both men resided in Whitefield and Majorowicz, a native of South Dakota, was well-qualified having taught art and sculpting at the University of Minnesota, University of Illinois and University of Maine. He was known locally for his many abstract art works that stood in the field alongside his Whitefield home and workshop off Route 218.

The city of Waterville commissioned Majorowicz in 1997 to make their sculpture. It stood downtown in the concourse parking lot for 20 years before being moved to its present location. I’m pretty sure that Majorowicz donated the sculpture he custom made for Wiscasset High School. The Waterville sculpture is named “TICONIC” for the Ticonic Fall just a short distance away. At its 2018 rededication when TICONIC was moved to the waterfront, Majorowicz wrote this of his sculpture: “(The) geometric temple form symbolizes a city on the upswing with awareness of global concern (the pylon thrust form). Within the composition, the large diagonal form represents the water falls, the three wheels were inspired by the history of trains in Waterville. The three vertical pole forms might remind you of the stacks from paper mills. I have selected an over silver finish and surface treatment to represent the swirling movement of water in the river and falls...”

There is, I think, a similarity between the Waterville and WMHS sculptures. Seeing them you definitely get a sense they were made by the same artist. But what does the 14-foot tall sculpture at WMHS represent? Well … you could say being an abstract work, its meaning is subject to many different interpretations and simply left to the eyes of the beholder to decide. Considering it’s been a fixture of the school’s Memorial Garden for 36 years, it’s held up remarkably well. I think adding a plaque here identifying Roger Majorowitz as the sculpture’s creator is long overdue.

Majorowitz was a fairly renowned artist. His work can be found in many places – New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. to name a few. He also made metal sculptures for several other Maine schools in South Berwick, Gardiner, Whitefield and University of Maine at Augusta.

Phil Di Vece earned a bachelor of arts in journalism studies from Colorado State University and a master of arts in journalism at the University of South Florida. He is the author of three Wiscasset books and is a frequent news contributor to the Wiscasset Newspaper and Boothbay Register. He resides in Wiscasset. Contact him at pdivece@roadrunner.com