Sculpture splendor

Preserving nature, pleasing the masses
by Santi Quiroga Medina

In the heart of Whidbey Island’s lovely town of Coupeville lies a forest filled with wonder at every turn. For those interested in the arts, nature or both, Price Sculpture Forest is a Coupeville treasure just waiting to be discovered.

Nature’s Keystone, by Anthony Heinz May
Photo by Sydney Lorton

The forest, founded by Coupeville local Scott Price, was originally going to be the location for his new home. However, after purchasing the land in 2008, Price decided to move-in elsewhere in Coupeville and sell the property. Because of the forest’s short distance from the waterfront, many potential buyers wanted to clear large parts of the forest to create a view, something Price did not want. So instead, he got creative. 

“I really didn’t want the forest cleared, so I then started thinking ‘okay, what can I do to preserve this property?’” Price said. “Now that I’ve set up the conservation easement, rule one is keep it as a forest, pretty normal for the land trust. The second rule is to have a public sculpture park, which of course they had never done before.” 

Price solidified the conservation easement in 2014, but it would take five years for the park to open its doors in 2019. During that time, Price worked hard to find artists and pieces to fill up the park.

“Prior to opening, of course, nobody knew me and nobody knew about the sculpture park,” Price said. “I did two things, I reached out to sculptors that I knew personally, and in some cases, they didn’t know me, and I really appreciated their work. Then I also did what they call  a ‘call for artists’ and so on artist sites.” 

Tyrannosaurus Rex by Joe Treat

Piece by piece, Price filled the forest’s trails with art pieces from a variety of sculptors, all of which have their own meaning and significance. According to Price, the forest and the art compliment each other in a very unique way. 

“The forest has this cool thing where the art will enhance nature and nature will enhance the art,” Price said. “All of the pieces are very intentionally designed and placed so that every turn is something new, whether that’s by hiding pieces behind trees, or hanging them up on branches. The art helps people not just look at their shoes and that’s something really special.” 

For anyone looking for a unique outdoor activity, Price Sculpture Forest is a great, free option for a fun time, and Price hopes people think about their experience outside of the forest’s reach. 

“The idea is for is for a visitor to walk away with a more positive view of both nature and art, and hopefully take that with them out into the world beyond the sculpture forest,” Price said. “You are part of the environment and part of art, and taking that idea out into the universe is big.”