Breckenridge starts donor program to increase public art
BRECKENRIDGE – The town of Breckenridge has a new plan to increase its public art collection. It started a donor program this year, where people may purchase sculptures artists display at the annual Blue River Outdoor Sculpture Show and donate them for town placement.Last summer, Pat and Jack Thomas and Rick and Susie Grossman approached the Breckenridge Public Art Commission – a group of nine members that has focused on placing public art in the town since 1996. The couples offered to purchase pieces artists displayed in the 2004 summer Blue River Outdoor Sculpture Show so the town could place them as public art. Beginning next summer, the committee will select up to four pieces that donors may choose from, but it will limit actual placements to no more than two annually.
“We’re very conscious of trying to assemble a collection that represents the community of Breckenridge,” said Jennifer Cram, staff to the commission. “So there may be years where none of the pieces makes sense for us, but it would be nice to add pieces (every year) and attract new artists. It will help supplement our budget and get more public art placed.””It’s unlikely that we would accept more than two donations a year, because we want it to be very special for donors, and we want the collection to grow slowly and thoughtfully,” said Marsha Cooper, a Breckenridge Public Art Commissioner. “We’re trying to develop a long-lasting and meaningful collection for the town.”In addition to theme and the aesthetics of public art, the commission considers maintenance costs, since it is responsible for such expenses as landscape, lighting and insurance.Though the commission hasn’t developed a specific process for the donor program, it plans to have one in place by next summer, when it dedicates one of the pieces, “Gone Fishin,'” at the town party.
“Next year, the program will probably be by word of mouth,” Cooper said. “The town party will also make the program more visible. There are a number of homeowners who want to give back to the community but can’t (in certain ways) because they’re not permanent residents. I think there will be enough interest for at least one (donated) piece a year.”The committee will store “Gone Fishin,'” which the Thomases purchased, indoors through the winter and place it in the Blue River every summer.It has not settled on a location for Jack Hill’s “Kachina Steel.” Hill, a Native American who lives in Fairplay, based the sculpture on Navajo spirit characters but named it “Kachina Steel” so people would understand the spirit principle. He took Rocky Mountain spring water, blessed it and put it into the arms of the sculpture.”My influence in this piece was the water kachina and the mountains,” Hill said. “Ullr is the god of snow; this basically is the summer spirit of the water, protector of water.”
“Both of these pieces are outstanding collections because they both reflect the history and the community of Summit County,” Cooper said.The commission also may develop a plan for artists to donate public pieces. Michael Adams plans to donate a cast marble piece of a mother and child called “Moving Mother,” which probably will be placed at the new Little Red Schoolhouse at least temporarily, Cram said.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at email@example.com.
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