Local Sculpture Provides Artistic Beauty to Camp-Pa-Qua-Tuck

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Todd Arnett poses with his yet-to-be-completed sculpture of the Phoenix on the grounds of Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck.

(Center Moriches, NY) — Local artist Todd Arnett has been using his creativity on the grounds of Camp-Pa-Qua-Tuck by creating a wooden sculpture near Kaler’s Pond.

The unnamed sculpture was carved out of an eleven-foot tall, 800-pound black cherry tree and made into a Phoenix. It was placed on a 5,000-pound illuminated base on November 10 at the camp. The sculpture was inspired by the ideas of Gail Saetta and Matt Russell, Bradstock Music Festival volunteers who have been organizing the festival at the camp annually and have been installing lights throughout the camp for the past two years.

When it looked like Bradstock would no longer continue because another music venue was not able to present the festival any longer, Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck offered to hold it on their grounds three years ago. During that time, Ms. Saetta and Mr. Russell became acquainted with the camp’s staff and volunteers and learned about its mission. They then began donating lights and installing them on the camp’s grounds.

“One spring day when we were installing lights, Matt and I thought that adding something new to the camp would be a good idea in order to stimulate more creativity,” Ms. Saetta stated. “We thought about different types of objects and eventually, decided on a large sculpture.”

Ms. Saetta and Mr. Russell proposed the idea to Bridget Costello, the camp’s director. Ms. Costello concurred that an innovative, artistic sculpture would enhance the camp. They approached Mr. Arnett in June with ideas to incorporate a sculpture into the camp after hearing about his immaculate wood carving abilities from a close friend.

Mr. Arnett, Ms. Saetta and Mr. Russell began exchanging ideas about what type of sculpture to create. After many conversations, the idea of a phoenix emerged. “The Phoenix sculpture symbolizes the rebirth of the music festival at Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck and symbolizes the strength of the children that attend the camp,” says Ms. Saetta.

Although the sculpture is not yet completed, it is coming together as feathers beneath a globe with a forceful vortex above it. Essentially, it’s pushing a Phoenix to fly higher. For the finishing touches, musical notes will be added around the globe.

Mr. Arnett began working on the one-of-a-kind sculpture in July, about a month after his meeting with Ms. Saetta and Mr. Russell. The sculpture is expected to be fully completed soon, although Mr. Arnett is not sure of an exact date yet because of weather conditions.

Mr. Arnett has been wood carving for over 30 years and has had a sculpture business on Long Island for ten years. “This is definitely one of my largest sculptures I’ve done and I’m ecstatic to make one for the camp,” says Mr. Arnett. “I love contributing to a great organization that helps children and young adults with special needs.”

“We hope to enhance creativity at the camp with this unique sculpture,” says Ms. Costello. “We want the children in our programs to be inspired by the sculpture and know to always reach for the stars, just like the flying Phoenix.”

For more information about Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, or to make a donation, call (631) 878-1070 or visit www.camppaquatuck.com. For more information on Mr. Arnett’s sculptures please visit www.Toddarnett.com.



*Photo is attached and available upon request.


Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck was created by members of the Moriches Rotary Club in 1946. Located on the shores of Kaler's Pond on eastern Long Island, Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck is funded entirely by donations and is a special place where children and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities can experience first hand the pleasures that an active life has to offer. Children participate in a wide range of activities especially designed for youngsters who are in wheelchairs as well as those who are ambulatory. These activities include swimming, boating, arts and crafts, petting zoo, talent shows, cook-outs, games and a Carnival Day. The program also provides educational activities in areas such as nature, arts, fire safety and communication skills.