Collins Center for the Arts ‘re-ignites the flame’

Flame of InspirationThe Collins Center for the Arts is “re-igniting the flame.”

The flame is sculptor Clarke Fitz-Gerald’s “Flame of Inspiration” chandelier, which once graced the foyer of the-then Maine Center for the Arts.

The 21-foot-tall bronze chandelier, weighing more than a ton, was a fiery presence at the center for about two decades, including when Yo-Yo Ma and Isaac Stern performed at the grand opening in September 1986.

But during extensive renovations to the center between 2007 and 2009 — and its transition to the Collins Center for the Arts — the chandelier was removed and placed in storage.

When the CCA opens its 31st season in September 2016, the “Flame of Inspiration” will again shine, says CCA executive director Danny Williams.

“The Flame of Inspiration was a gift from the Class of 1942 for the grand opening of the building. By reinstalling the flame, we not only return this signature piece to its intended home, we honor the Class of  ’42’s exceptional generosity,” he says. “There has been a lot of discussion and planning surrounding this project and I am very grateful to all those who helped make this happen.”

Metal sculptor and artist Stephen Fitz-Gerald, son of Clarke Fitz-Gerald, will prepare the piece for its second unveiling.

While Stephen Fitz-Gerald is based in northern California, he is returning to his father’s former studio in Castine — Clarke Fitz-Gerald died in 2004 — to restore the piece to its original luster.