Grant and chamber’s support give legs to sculpture program
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Glenwood Springs will take on a more sculpted look under a public art program to be launched this summer.
Organizers of the Art Around Town program plan to install 10 sculptures this August in the kickoff of an annual program aimed at putting more art in parks and other outdoors locations.
The program is a joint effort by the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts and Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. It is benefiting from an $8,000 grant provided by a new city undertaking to use a portion of lodging tax revenues to pay for events, capital improvements and beautification efforts that help make Glenwood more attractive to tourists.
Under the program, 10 sculptures will be installed each year, and must remain in place for a year. However, the intent is for the amount of permanent public art to increase over time. The program plans to purchase one of the pieces each year and donate it to the city for public display.
“The theory is that in 10 years we’ll have 10 pieces that are permanently ours, that the city will own,” said Krista Kaufman, vice president of special events for the chamber.
Also, all of the pieces will be available for purchase, and program organizers hope that after their year on display they might continue to be enjoyed locally after being bought by entities such as local businesses.
The program also has the goal of becoming self-sustaining. Companies and other donors will be sought to sponsor each piece of artwork during its year on display, at a $2,500 cost. In exchange, a plaque accompanying each piece will recognize the sponsor and give the names of the artwork and its creator.
The arts center has worked for years to develop a public arts program.
“We’ve gone through at least two committees trying to get this together, and our biggest problem of course was money, so we were really excited that we won this grant request,” said Gayle Mortell, the center’s director.
“I just think that public art practically defines a community. It makes a statement that the community is interested in arts and culture. It brings tourists in. It’s just an important asset to any community.”
City Council is continuing to refine the parameters of its new grant program, but the public art proposal appeared to fit well with council’s initial intentions, said Mike McCallum, chairman of the city’s Financial Advisory Board. The board recommended, and council agreed, to provide the full amount requested.
He said it appears the grant will provide the seed money to get the art program going, and it should make a good tourism-related impact.
“What we liked is it’s been done successfully in other places so at least there’s a model for them to follow,” he said.
The art program’s organizers looked to cities such as Grand Junction and Loveland as examples of what may be possible in Glenwood. McCallum said he’s also seen other programs in other states.
Said Mortell, “I think what we did is we took the best from the several that we looked at and then created our own.”
Organizers are still settling on locations for the art. Besides parks, Mortell mentioned as possibilities the city’s Community Center, and locations such as the downtown post office and local government buildings, the chamber, the Frontier Historical Museum and some area banks and other businesses.
“We need to get with everybody to get their permission. We’re just not at that point yet,” she said.
She said a lot of businesses are excited about the prospect of having art outside their doors as an additional way to attract potential customers.
Mortell said organizers will select different locations around town each year where the art will be displayed.
A committee will accept applications and choose artists in July, with installations to occur in August, Kaufman said.
She said the public will vote on a people’s choice winner, which will determine what piece is given to the city. The plan is to hold a Labor Day festival with music and performance artists, and announce the winner then.
Mortell gives Kaufman much of the credit for finally getting the public art program going.
“Krista really is the brains behind this thing, honestly,” Mortell said. “She knew how to get it together.”
Said Kaufman, “When I started at the chamber I started to really research the project because I wanted to see it fly, too.
“We have an arts community here but it’s not an overly emphasized community. Hopefully this will marry commerce and the arts, and that’s the goal because commerce has the money and the arts community has the goods.”
Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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