Installation of sea serpent sculpture’s head completes Woodruff Street project
SARANAC LAKE — The giant metallic sea dragon sculpture in this village now has a fearsome head looming over the Woodruff Street sidewalk.
On Sunday, the North Country School students who designed and assembled the art piece installed the final portion along with their teacher, Larry Robjent, Bill Domenico, who offered his property as the showcase for the student’s work, and Domenico’s sons, Will and Leo.
The head is one of three sections, with a hump and a tail following behind. It’s all made from scrap metal found around the school’s campus that Robjent saves and uses for sculptures and plays on campus. He said the whole project cost only $6 for a few self-driving screws on the body.
This is the first sculpture to be shown in a public location and the public can even manipulate the head with levers on the back. One lever at arms height and another for stepping on turn the head, with its jagged furnace pipe teeth and piercing glass doorknob eyes, to scare unsuspecting passers-by.
The head was finished around a month ago but they had to wait until the snow could melt until it could be bolted to the concrete base. While they were there they also bolted the tail into place.
Domenico said he will plant hosta plants around the wooden bases, creating a “splashing” effect with the plant’s wide, drooping leaves.
The sculpture will change over time as it rusts and is altered by the elements. Robjent said because it is built from such a mish-mash of metals, each one will oxidize at a different rate.
Robjent has unofficially nicknamed the beast “Tessie,” referencing the infamous Loch Ness Monster “Nessie,” but with a “t” for tetanus instead.
After the installation the students walked over to the Left Bank Cafe where they dined on sea serpent-shaped pastries prepared by cafe owner Anne Sterling.
Domenico said has submitted the sculpture to the Congressional Artistic Discovery Contest under New York’s 21th District representative Elise Stefanik. The winners of each district will have their pieces displayed in Washington D.C. for a year. Though the contest is looking more for something that can be framed, and the sea dragon is something you really have to see in person, he hopes it can get an honorable mention.
Robjent is currently fundraising for a new performing arts center on campus which is planned to house a theater and workshop. The shop he and his students built the sea dragon in is not heated and can get as cold as ten below in the winter.
“Our iPod dies around zero degrees, the tape deck dies at negative five,” Robjent said. “I tell the kids, ‘Gear up, you go down and work, and if you’re cold, work harder.'”
The plans for the Walter P. Breeman Performing Arts Center are finished and work is expected to start in October. Breeman was a student at the school who died tragically in 2014; his family is securing funds for the building to remember the hard-working and well-loved student.
Donations can be submitted on the school’s website.