Monday, October 17, 2016

RUNNYMEDE SCULPTURE FARM, Spreckels Estate in Woodside, California

Horse Head for Runnymede by Ilan Averbuch
Imagine a farm that instead of growing corn, wheat, or watermelons, sprouts giant sculptures in its fields. Runnymede Farm, in the hills of Woodside, California, just north of Palo Alto, is a sculpture farm–120 acres of rolling hills dotted with more than 160 sculptures installed along paths, in fields, and under the trees.
Steel sculptures by Charles Ginnever
Two weeks ago I attended an event held there and  had the chance to enjoy both the beautiful scenery and view some of the many sculptures. I am one of the lucky ones to see the art up close because, except for rare occasions, the farm is not open to the public.
Lenape by Harry Gordon
Runnymede Farm was originally bought in 1930 by Alma Spreckels Rosekrans, one of the heirs to the famous sugar magnate, Claus Spreckels, as a home for her jumper horses. It was named for her father's prized stallion. The property was turned into a Sculpture Farm by her son John and his wife Dodie Rosekrans in the mid-1980s. They had a passion for modern three-dimensional art and traveled throughout the United States and Europe meeting artists and collecting pieces for their outdoor art museum.  No new pieces have been added since John passed away in 2001.
Hand Like Tree by Magdalena Abakanowicz
Sculptures were around us from the moment we pulled through the gate. In the parking area a row of what resembled giant tree trunks stood like silent sentries along the edge of the creek bed. Behind us in open sheds were the collection of another family member, pieces of antique farm equipment--looking almost like sculptures themselves.

Walking Cairn by Celeste Roberge
Near the building that was once a dairy barn stood the figure of a woman walking, created from large stones wrapped in wire. We then proceeded up the path toward the top of the hill, passing a large field dotted with abstract metal shapes. Around the bend a giant horsehead greeted us, the blocks of stone catching the afternoon sunlight. And at the top of the hill, were more pieces--near the water tank, in the field and among the trees.
Sculpture by Ilan Averbuch
These are just a few of the sculptures I saw. Click HERE for a sampling of some of the many other sculptures at Runnymede Farm.
Runnymede farm lies just west of the 280 Freeway. As you speed by in your car you may get a glimpse of one or two pieces. Or, you may have the good fortune, as I did, to attend a special event there and see the sculptures up close.

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