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Merriweather Post Pavilion Honors Robert Plant, Dolly Parton & Miles Davis With Pras Sculptures

"I've been wanting to give people more fun reasons to walk around the backyard at Merriweather," said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P.

The Merriweather Post Pavilion honored three iconic artists who have graced it’s Columbia, Md., stage during an unveiling of larger-than-life anamorphic sculptures created by French sculptor Bernard Pras.

The sculptures honor Robert Plant, who first took the Merriweather Post Pavilion (MPP) stage with Led Zeppelin in 1969, when the venue was only in its second season; revered jazz genius Miles Davis, who played the amphitheater in 1973; and beloved singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, who first performed at the venue in 1979.


The art pieces were commissioned by Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P., which operates the amphitheater and owns the famed 9:30 Club in Washington D.C.

“At first glance, Bernard’s work may seem like it centers more around the unusual format itself, making art from knickknacks and discarded things,” said Hurwitz in a statement. “But the more you experience his work, the more you experience his true genius. He just sees things differently than us mortals.”

He added, “I’ve been wanting to give people more fun reasons to walk around the backyard at Merriweather, and the idea of a Pras sculpture garden came to life. I have several of his pieces in other places, but the backyard is the perfect home for these larger pieces. The way he works is you propose your idea and he comes to town and looks for the objects here and the magic happens.”

This is the first time Pras has created three sculptures simultaneously, and the first time his work has been built to be outdoors permanently.

“We wanted to share with everyone who comes here the artists we feel have been the most historical and meaningful people in music; those who have been a part of Merriweather’s intricate fabric,” said Hurwitz. “As usual, this had to be done in an alternative and challenging way.”

A statement attributed to Pras reads, “I truly enjoyed this project, particularly because of its challenges. The connection with a subject, even when proposed by the commissioner, is a great mystery that sometimes reveals itself during the creation. It is always the chance of a very enriching encounter.”