Glenwood Springs community weighs in on North Landing sculpture ideas | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs community weighs in on North Landing sculpture ideas

Sculptor Madeline Wiener listens to community members regarding concepts for the new North Landing site sculpture that she has been commissioned to complete for the city of Glenwood Springs.

Glenwood Springs residents participated in the final public art charrette Wednesday evening for the future sculpture that will land on the parcel where the former Grand Avenue Bridge once touched down — the city-owned North Landing site.

Artist Madeline Wiener, a part-time Marble resident whose work, known as "Bench People," lives in public places from the western Colorado town of Montrose to Scotland, was selected to complete the work.

The new addition to Glenwood's public art offerings comes thanks to a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant awarded to the city earlier this year. Wiener will now sculpt a piece of Colorado Yule marble to fit the identity of the town formerly known as Defiance.

Community members bullet-pointed 35 different words that came to mind ranging from "fun" to "justice," when asked to describe Glenwood's values and character.

However, after a healthy debate, the same participants boiled down the laundry list of opinions to "western," "environmental," "hardworking," "historical" and, above all else, "welcoming."

For its part, the Post Independent's current weekly poll asks readers, what aspect of Glenwood should the new North Landing sculpture depict?

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To date, 33 percent of online participants voted for "western history" and 29 percent have voted for "river recreation," while "native people" and "mix of cultures" each have earned 19 percent of the vote.

Hauling around a bucket full of pieces from "the stone," as Wiener refers to it, the sculptor invited community members to actually feel the Yule marble that comes from the quarry high in the mountains above the town of Marble.

Touch, in and of itself, sits at the forefront at the sculptor's mind as it relates to her sculptures. Wiener described how she originally started her career as a painter but had a difficult time, "getting to the other side of the canvas."

Wiener would frequent art galleries and museums, but was not a fan, to say the least, of not being able to touch the work.

What will ultimately sit on the North Landing site remains a bit unknown, but rest assured the artist said it will invite people to touch, sit and subsequently fully experience her sculpture.

After figuring out the town's "values" and "character," participants were asked to pinpoint pieces of Glenwood's past, present and future.

The consensus, again, good question?

Following an additional spirited discussion, community members honed in on, "having a cast of characters," "vibrancy," and being at a "crossroads," but at the same time a "sanctuary."

"I am all ears," Wiener said of all of the ideas.

At the end of the meeting, Wiener showed off pictures of her previous work and seemed more than ready to get to work on the Glenwood Springs project.

"I have dedicated my career to creating sculpture for public places — sculpture that is intended to be touched, interacted with, functional — and I came to designing a series of works that I call bench people," Wiener, who splits her time between Boulder and Marble, told the Post Independent in a previous interview.

Soon, one of Wiener's sculptures will live in Glenwood.

mabennett@postindependent.com