Tidal Moon by Jesse Salisbury is a massive abstract sculpture located just outside the Portland International Jetport exit. The piece was sculpted from a 12-ton block of Jonesboro, Maine granite using ancient splitting techniques. Some surfaces were left with rough facets that catch the light, others were polished, evocative of the smooth surfaces of tide tumbled stones. Tidal Moon is comprised of two large split granite columns, which elevate a smooth granite sphere reminiscent of a jewel. Arts patron William D. Hamill and his wife Mary Louise N. Hamill donated the sculpture in 2012 to the city of Portland.
Jesse Salisbury is an internationally celebrated artist from Steuben, Maine. He is the founding director and host of Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium. Their mission is to host Stone Sculpture Symposia in downeast Maine that will engage individuals and communities in public art. Salisbury has work in public collections including the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, The Steuben Library, and Bartlett Wines in Gouldsboro, in addition to his symposium pieces in Egypt, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
Granite has played an important part in Maine’s history. In its peak usage in 1901, an estimated 3,500 workers were employed at 152 quarries on the mainland and off shore islands. Schooners laden with the stone would carry their cargo to public works projects along the east coast. It can be found in buildings and projects including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Church of St. John the Divine, and the Kennedy Memorial. Maine Granite is famous for the diversity of its color and texture and can often be traced back to the quarry it came from. It is the bedrock of Maine and remains an enduring medium for artists.