Glenwood Springs is about to get even more beautiful.
In its eighth year, the 2 Rivers Art Project (2RAP) is bringing in five brand new pieces of public art — all of which were created by Colorado artists — and relocating six previously-installed pieces to accommodate the Grand Avenue bridge project.
“It’ll feel like everything is new because we’re having to move six pieces,” said Christina Brusig, executive director of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, which organizes 2RAP in collaboration with the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and the city of Glenwood Springs. “So, basically, everything is going to change for this year.”
Overall, after the five new works are installed, 18 pieces of public art will be sprinkled throughout the most walkable parts of Glenwood in an effort to reach the most people, Brusig said. There will be pieces in front of the Center for the Arts and at 7th, 8th and 9th streets, as well as at the library and other popular landmarks.
“That’s our goal, is to make all of this walkable,” Brusig said. “I believe it provides an artistic experience without having to walk into a gallery.”
Brusig said 2RAP began as an effort to beautify downtown Glenwood after seeing similar programs in other cities and towns.
“We were inspired by the public art in downtown Grand Junction, as well as the public art in Carbondale,” Brusig said.
The process for bringing new art this year began with a solicitation to artists for submissions. Pieces were selected based on how much impact they would have on viewers, including how big they are, and how well they’d fit in with the rest of the Glenwood aesthetic.
Once pieces were chosen, sites were selected by Terry Muldoon, the Center for the Arts’ director of visual arts, and artist Charlie Beyer. Brusig then met with the city of Glenwood to ensure the chosen sites would not interfere with logistics or safety, like snow removal or vision for drivers.
Within the next week, all of the pieces will be installed. That process of installing the new and moving the old has already begun, Brusig said, when a sculpture was transferred by crane from the 27th Street roundabout to the Art Center on Monday.
By this time next year, the artists who made the five new public art pieces will be able to choose to keep them in Glenwood for a second year or donate them to the city permanently. All pieces are for sale, as well, and the city of Glenwood also has $10,000 set aside in its budget to purchase a piece of public art as a permanent installation.
Brusig said that dedication to public art is something to be proud of.
“Public art is inclusive as far as everyone getting to view and appreciate art,” she said. “It puts art right in your face, to be blunt about it. And with our initiative to make it walkable, it allows someone to take a stroll and see art that makes them feel something.”
There is no official opening once the new pieces are installed, but the Center for the Arts is working on a walking map that would include the sites of all the works. Brusig expects that map to be completed in July or August. At that point, there will be a downtown community celebration of the public art.
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