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Hikers protesting new ‘Beetlejuice’-like sculptures in Pinnacle Mountain State Park



Little Rock, Arkansas – Local hikers are upset about the new sculptures at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, and they have created a petition to stop the installation of more sculptures and maybe destroy the current ones.

The park served as an inspiration for artists from Arkansas and beyond as part of an artist-in-residence program that included the art installations.

“Uhh…I don’t even have an opinion of what that is, I couldn’t tell you. It just looks like a blob of…something,” said Mat Seeling, an avid mountain biker and owner of Spokes bicycle shop in Little Rock.

It’s impossible to disagree with the spectacular new sculptures at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. The mushrooms are the name given to these artworks. This one is called “Crystallized Tears,” and it’s located on the East Quarry Trail.

As part of the artist-in-residence program, Pinnacle Mountain State Park is anticipated to host at least one more sculpture.

Some hikers do not think well of the new artwork, which was erected towards the end of last year. They claim that the artwork is so out of place that it detracts from the main purpose of a trip, which is to go away from civilization and into unspoiled nature.

“Looks like a jumble of trash, looks like someone took tornado wreckage and stuck it up there on a slab of concrete,” said Joshua Hamilton, a hiker from Nashville, Arkansas who started the petition to halt installation of further art pieces in Arkansas state parks.

It’s evident that Hamilton is not the only one who thinks this way about the statues because, in the four days after he started the petition, over 1,700 people have signed it.

“I’m trying to get in touch with Arkansas State Parks, you know, [sent] some emails…haven’t heard back yet. And I will present [the petition] to them, just to see what they have to say about it—make them aware that the majority of the people who use state parks, who like to get out there and enjoy nature, are not for sculptures like this,” Hamilton said.

Regarding the statues, the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism issued the following comment.

“There was no taxpayer money used for this installation; it was a private donation through the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation, which also privately funded Arkansas State Park Monument Trails at Pinnacle Mountain, Mount Nebo, Devil’s Den, and Hobbs State Parks, recently named the best mountain biking trails in America by Outside Magazine,” said Shea Lewis, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.

Not all people are criticizing the art installations. Neither Seelinger nor any of his other mountain bikers seem to be bothered by them.

“We just ride by them and you know, catch it out of the corner of our eye—but we don’t stop and go ‘ooh, ahh, that’s really cool’—just doesn’t happen,” Seelinger said. “If it’s something to get somebody outside, walking in the woods going ‘ooh, what is that,’ I think it’s a great idea.”

Furthermore, as some have noted, a few of the artworks evoke recollections of sculptures akin to those in a specific 1980s movie.

“Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice,” Hamilton laughed. “And watch out for the sandworms.”


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