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Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary’s 2020 Artist in Residence demonstrates at Island Park

ALPENA, Mich. — Autumn Bildson has been sculpting stone for the past 30 years. As the owner of her business, Stone Arts Studio, where she creates all kinds of decorative art.

Her talents have led her to be chosen as the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary’s Artist in Residence for 2020.  Coordinator for the program Mark Beins says Bildson is the first sculptor to be sponsored. “We are looking for always for artists who are good at what they do and this year we found a great artist,” he said. Beins also pointed out that this particular art is very unique. “It’s a thing to behold to take something out of the earth and turn it into something with just your hands.”

Bildson says that when she took a class 30 years ago, she was into it right away. “It’s really kind of a cool craft to start because it’s not too pricey,” she said. “Your basic chisel and hammers would be about $100 and you can get scrap limestone from a bunch of different landscapes places. It’s an extremely powerful feeling to be able to create artwork from a piece of stone and you get you’re aggression out really quickly.”

Every artist in residence donates a piece of artwork to the sanctuary to be placed in the upcoming Thunder Bay River center. This year, Bildson has a turtle that took seven days to create. Bildson will be at the end of the bridge at Island Park on Thursday, July 14, at 11 a.m. and the public is welcome to visit and try their hand at stone sculpting.