🔴 The 20-foot stainless steel design by artist Sijia Chen was chosen from 40 submitted designs

🔴 It will be erected in a sculpture garden inside Bohenko Gateway Park

🔴 Between six and eight sculptures can be erected in the garden


Portsmouth NH 400 has unveiled the first public art sculpture for a new maritime-themed sculpture garden in Bohenko Gateway Park.

A 20-foot stainless steel design by artist Sijia Chen will be installed in the new park on the Market Street Extension. It is the first of what is hoped to be up to eight designs in the park.

Chen said her small coastal city of Shantou, China, reminds her of Portsmouth. The Los Angeles-based artist said her design was inspired by the Piscataqua gundalow.

A review team considered 40 proposed designs by 30 artists. The team included representatives from the city of Portsmouth and the community, and others with expertise in art.

Conceptual design by artist Sijia Chen
Conceptual design by artist Sijia Chen (Portsmouth 400)

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The sculpture garden is the creation of the legacy project subcommittee, which is tasked with creating ideas that will remain in place beyond this year's celebration.

“The Legacy Project Team and its chair Ernie Greenslade have worked incredibly hard to realize the vision of installing permanent public art as part of the PNH400,” Valerie Rochon, PNH400 Managing Director, said in a statement. “The process and their commitment to the goals of the proposal request has resulted in the selection of a sculpture that will be iconic, meaningful and created out of the artist’s active engagement with the community.”

PNH 400 has raised nearly $100,000 for the design, fabrication, transportation, documentation, installation, and insurance, but sponsorship is needed to complete the sculpture garden.

Chen is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who has created permanent public art projects in China and in locations across the United States, including Claremont, CA and North Kansas City, MO. She received her MFA from Tyler School of Art and her BFA from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.

Sijia Chen appears remotely at the unveiling of her sculpture
Sijia Chen appears remotely at the unveiling of her sculpture (PortsmouthNH400)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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