MAPLEWOOD, NJ- On Monday morning Nov. 26, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and the South Mountain Conservancy dedicated the first wildflower sculpture in the Essex County South Mountain Reservation.

The sculpture, created by Maplewood artist Larry Dell, is located in the enclosure area adjacent to the popular Essex County South Mountain Dog Park on Crest Drive in the Reservation. The idea behind the Wildflower Sculpture Project was to introduce public art into the Reservation to raise awareness about the reservation’s natural beauty as well as unite the disciplines of nature and art.

DiVincenzo said he was quite impressed with what Dell constructed and thanked him and the conservancy for their hard work. He said he wants to see more art in the parks in the near future, as well.

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“Larry thanks for coming in and picking up all that extra wood,” he said.

According to its website, the South Mountain Conservancy helps to preserve, protect, and enhance the 2099-acre South Mountain Reservation in Essex County, New Jersey through education, public service, and advice to local government agencies. The Conservancy partners with the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs and other environmental groups to improve the Reservation’s infrastructure and ecology, and enhance its natural beauty and the experience of current and future users. 

Tricia Zimic, a member of the Conservancy, approached Dell a few months ago and gave him free reign to create whatever he wanted.

“What he came up with is something that really identifies with its location,” Zimic said.

While the whole process with the county started six months ago, Zimic said she is impressed at how fast things happened. More importantly, people now have a beautiful piece of art to see in the Reservation.

Dell said after he submitted his proposal to Zimic, he hoped to receive the opportunity to create something in the park. Once he was given the go ahead, he was really excited, he said.

He decided to recycle wood from last year’s snowstorm in October for the project and the artwork took him three months to complete.  It is made up of 10 sections of woven spray painted silver wood with a steel frame at the bottom.

“It’s very close to what I originally envisioned,” he said. “It came together very nicely.”