Pearl sculpture for Oyster Bay

Pearl sculpture for Oyster Bay

Two years ago, sculptor Jerelyn Hanrahan had a strand of an idea: to create a community pearl, literally and figuratively, for Oyster Bay.

She stood at a work site last week, having nearly reached her goal. Twenty-one cement spheres, some nearly a half-ton and three feet tall, will form one of the more ambitious public art projects in the town -- a 40-foot "string of pearls," doubling as benches, along the beach at Theodore Roosevelt Park. Installation is expected in time for the annual Oyster Festival Saturday and Sunday.

"This belongs in Oyster Bay," said Hanrahan, who runs Atelier Fine Arts Studio on East Main Street in Oyster Bay hamlet. "The art world is a little insular. Here you reach a broader audience."

Each sphere is being finished with pearl paint, to be linked with a chain to create an oversized necklace. The pearls, weighing 200 to 850 pounds, will be trucked to the park Tuesday and secured in a figure-eight formation.

The Town of Oyster Bay has agreed to display the project through Nov. 1, spokesman Brian Devine said. Finding a location was difficult because of park renovations, he said.

"But we thought it was an interesting project that would sync up pretty well with Oyster Fest," Devine said. "It becomes one of those destinations. It's not every day you see a 40-foot string of pearls."

If the project, titled "Graduated Pearls," must move in November, Hanrahan said she'll sell it to a commercial broker, perhaps for display in an office lobby or shopping mall.

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