Georgia’s Giant Puzzle Pieces

There is a rather unusual landmark in Georgia that may have some people scratching their heads. That is – if you can find it. If you trudge up a gentle hill through knee deep weeds, behind the Georgia Interstate Rest Area, you come face to face with these life-sized jigsaw puzzle pieces, sitting neglected in the Vermont woods. The irony isn’t lost on me here, as these weathered puzzle pieces are, well, a puzzle. What the hell are they? Why are they here? Who sculpted them? And why have they been forgotten?

As it turns out, these are a set out of of 18 sculptures designed and fabricated during the International Sculpture Symposium held in Vermont in 1968 and 1971, with the intent on decorating the freshly constructed interstate system and it’s rest stops. Matching grant funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The event was organized by Paul Aschenbach, a well respected and now deceased UVM professor. The sculptors came from all over the world, and the output was meant to beautify and bring some life into the newly built rest stops along interstates 89 and 91, but instead, many of them have been forsaken and serves as monuments to enigmatic decrepitude.

The interstate coming through Vermont is fascinatingly turbulent. I didn’t cover much of that here, maybe I will in a future blog post. But – UVM has a pretty cool blog about it, with old photos.

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