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Peter's Sculpture

Join Peter Beerits for an insider tour of his sculptural, historical, ever-evolving village (approx 40 min).  Select Sundays at 1 PM through the summer/fall season.  Donations welcome.


When I was in graduate school is Southern California, half a life-

gas-can-sheep.jpgtime ago, I wanted to make “installations”:  the bar at Arnoldi’s in Santa Barbara, with its framed hand of cards and stuffed jackalope head; the lunch room (it was an antechamber to the men’s room) at the steel warehouse where I worked swing shift. But this type of artwork takes vision, a venue and an audience, if not a patron!—resources an art student is unlikely to have on hand.  So, I came east and started the jelly business and slowly, during years of hard work and struggle, the pieces of Nellieville began to assemble on the shadowy margins of life.

peter-chickens.jpgI cleared a patch of woods and placed sculptures among the trees.  Visitors started to come.  I began a story about the journey to Deer Isle from Los Angeles:  Episode 1 of The Nervous Nellie Story.  On a trip west, I bought a postcard of a vanished Western town, Bodie, evoking memories of my childhood---my mother’s stories of cowpunching in Montana during World War II and a magical tin Western town that I still have today.  It took me years to actually find Bodie, a ghostly presence in the High Sierra. 

     With the new millennium, Neville Hardy closed his store—the last idiosyncratic neighborhood market on the island.  He laughed when I told him it belonged in a museum.  I moved it to Nervous Nellie’s, not realizing that I was starting a village.  The evolving plot of The Nervous Nellie Story took me to Clarksdale, Mississippi; I was entranced by the Delta and came back to build a juke joint.  People loved it, which emboldened me to build a piece of my childhood Western town: the Silver Dollar Saloon.

     By the sixth episode of the Nellie Story, the sculptures and the Story had merged.  The Rosebud County jail followed the saloon, and a lawyer (Attorney sm-campus.jpgCerraduras of the Story) came next, with a fortune teller upstairs.  The population of Nellieville now stands at 24, and season by season it grows. I have lived and worked so long that the images of my childhood and the ambitions of my art school years have taken center stage.  Now I sweep the floors and tend the gardens in a town that once existed only in my head.


Peter Beerits


To find out more about Peter's unique art form, check out The Peter Beerits DVD. Or better yet, visit us here in Deer Isle and spend time wandering through the magical world he is creating.











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