Moving an Eight-Ton Sculpture

Local artist’s quarantine creation headed to Laurel for display 

A large-scale sculpture that honors the local environment, created during the stay-at-home order, is set to be unveiled—but getting it to its destination will take some doing.  

Watershed, a sculpture by artist Eddie Lavin of Chesapeake Beach, came to life behind the SoCo Arts Lab in Tracy’s Landing. The sculpture is made out of thermal bluestone from a quarry in Pennsylvania and weighs in at eight tons and measures 750 square feet. 

“My artistic inspiration comes from a love for the intelligent designs inherent in all of nature,” Lavin says. “This piece is centered on the Patuxent River Wildlife Refuge and adjacent parks.” 

The three-dimensional map of the refuge including the Patuxent River and its tributaries allows rainwater to flow through the crevices once the sculpture has been installed in its permanent spot outdoors—a Laurel business park’s community center. 

Lavin worked on the piece for four months at the Lab, a nonprofit artists’ workspace which opened in Tracy’s Landing last year. 

“We recognized the need in South County for working studio space for artists and also for a community-based art center,” says Nancy Oliver, one of the Lab’s founders. “We want to foster connections among artists and the public and ignite the creative spirit in everyone.”  

The Lab provides affordable studio space for rent to working artists and a gallery space to showcase their art during pop-up shows and longer-term events. Currently it’s hosting nine resident artists, as well as associate and emerging artists in the early stage of their career. 

“It’s a collaborative atmosphere for everyone to share ideas and become even more creative.” Oliver says. 

And that space has been a haven for artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I’ve been at the Lab full time and have been loving the weather working outdoors,” Lavin says. “I know that for all of us during this period of strife, we have been grateful to have a safe place to escape and find refuge in our creative energies. It’s probably one of the most therapeutic means to cope for anyone out there with creative talents.” 

Assembling and transporting a sculpture that is one ton heavier than the weight of an average adult elephant took some planning. “Eddie built a 325-foot platform with two open channels so he could push and pull the stone from place to place,” Oliver says. 

The sculpture is (slowly) en route from South County and should be at its final destination on June 8. Visitors are invited to come take a look: 3314 Laurel Fort Meade Rd., Laurel.