NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – The Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is now the home of three large metal sculptures created by North Salem’s Domenico Belli .
Belli, who was born into a family of metalworkers in Patrica, Italy, began learning his trade in the familial workshop at the age of 14. Four years later he emigrated to America, specifically the Arthur Avenue region of the Bronx, and eventually found full-time employment with the Westchester County Parks System.
Belli’s employment by the county entitled him to rent a cottage on county property, the log cabin at the Hawley Street entrance to Mountain Lakes Park. If you pass that way, it is likely that you will see his sculptures displayed on the lawn.
Belli uses only recycled metal, working it with a hammer, an anvil and a torch. Under his hands, it may morph into an animal, a bird, a fish or any number of other things. People who pause at the entrance to Mountain Lakes Park to admire Belli’s work are sometimes invited to join him in a cup of espresso or a glass of wine as they discuss his art.
Belli enters about 25 art shows a year and annually sells around 100 sculptures, ranging in price from $30 to $4500. He accepts commissions too.
The works chosen for display at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation are all symbols of America: an Eagle, a Native American, and an abstract Early American Flag. All three are located near the Cross River entrance to the park. “You can’t miss them, even if you wanted to,” said Belli.
“The park is so big and open, that my works don’t get lost in there,” he continued. “The flag is 12 or 13 feet high, the eagle about seven feet, and the Indian around eight feet. I wanted to include the Indian as an American symbol because, after all, they were here before we came.”
Another of Belli’s American theme sculptures, a turkey, is located between the two parking lots and is a permanent fixture. The three new ones are on loan to the county for about six months.
The entrance to the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is on Route 121, just south of Route 35, in Cross River.
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