The International Sculpture Symposium movement was spearheaded by Dr. Karl Prantl in Austria in 1959. This initiative grew from the need to facilitate communication and exchange between members of the international sculpture community. The first international sculpture symposium took place in an abandoned stone quarry.
Sculptors from around the world joined together to produce permanent pieces of public artwork from local stone, a dynamic which would provide the model for many symposia to follow. Since then international sculpture symposia have been held in numerous towns and cities around the world including in Japan, Australia, Germany, Italy, Abu Dhabi, India, France, Cuba and the United States, to name only a few.
The first North American International Sculpture Symposium was held in Montreal, PQ in 1964. Subsequent ones were held in Canada in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and in Ontario.
Spearheaded by sculptor Jesse Salisbury, the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium held its first event at the Acadia National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula in 2007. This resulted in seven sculptures placed along coastal towns in Maine and began a new trail system.
There are now thirty four sculptures along the Maine coast. In 2012 The New Brunswick International Sculpture Symposium held the first symposium in Atlantic Canada under the name Sculpture Saint John modeled after and working closely with the Schoodic symposium.
Sculpture Saint John has held two biennial events so far and will result in a Canadian sculpture trail of over thirty five large scale sculptures by 2020. Combined, the two trails make up a unique international art exhibition of large scale granite works of contemporary art by world renowned artists.