David Hayes Sculpture Fields in Coventry damaged by tornado | Coventry


COVENTRY – The David Hayes Sculpture Fields is awaiting help from the city and state to clean up damage from a tornado this month that uprooted trees and knocked down metal sculptures throughout the property.

The Sculpture Fields is located on the South Street property of the late David V. Hayes, a local artist who lived and created sculptures and abstract paintings in Coventry until his death in 2013. The David Hayes Art Foundation exhibits his works on the 54-acre property.

John Hayes, son of the artist and curator of the collection who comes to Florida seasonally, said various officials and U.S. office representative Joseph D. Courtney responded almost immediately. They sent people out to visit the fields and assess the damage and are now coordinating a response. He said he was still waiting for city council members to assess the damage.

About 100 trees were lost on the property after an EF-0 tornado hit on September 9, Hayes said. Stone walls that have been damaged by fallen trees will need to be rebuilt. The property still has several leaning trees that could fall to the ground, making the area unsafe for the public.

“There are still three or four (trees) hanging down. We always hear crushes, ”he said. “We can’t have anyone on the property until someone cleans it up. “

Once a professional team removes the trees posing an immediate threat, the Sculpture Fields will have a week of volunteering to help with the remainder of the cleanup.

The sculpture fields are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to being exhibited locally, David Hayes’ works have also been added to permanent collections across the country, including at the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

In February, the property was featured on “Legacy List with Matt Paxton,” an award-winning PBS television show.

The tornado reached a maximum wind speed of 75 mph and moved northeast through a wooded area, the National Weather Service said. It lifted up and then touched down again immediately north of the intersection of Flanders Road and Nathan Hale Drive. Here he cut down power lines and damaged at least 50 trees as he moved through a wooded area again. Many trees have been felled or sheared. It only lasted about 90 seconds.

The storm hit around 4 a.m., waking people up with emergency alerts on their cell phones.

Ben covers Coventry and Tolland for the Inquirer Journal.

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