Sculpture Walk is woven into Evergreen’s consciousness

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By Sara Miller

Even after 18 years in existence, very few people know they have Art for the Mountain Community to thank for the vast array of public art that greets us at every turn in Evergreen. AMC is a dedicated group of professional artists and art lovers who come together each year to select innovative, whimsical and beautiful sculptures to welcome visitors and citizens alike to our mountain town.

On June 3, AMC welcomed 16 new sculptures to the streets, meadows and plazas of Evergreen. This year’s Sculpture Walk has more installations than ever because AMC gained a display location outside the new Daniels Diamond building that can be seen from Bergen Parkway. To obtain this vast selection of works, the AMC committee sends an annual nationwide call to artists for entries. “Blind judging” ensures that each piece is viewed on its merit alone. Each year, we end up with a new batch of sculptures that show up with a bang — welding tools and cranes help to remove the previous year’s sculptures — and weave their way into our mountain consciousness for another year.

Without fail, each year’s crop consists of a mix of work by veteran mountain sculptors and newcomers. Pine artist Michael Mladjan returns to the Sculpture Walk this year after a one-year hiatus. His sculpture “Robigo Floribunda” graced the streets of Evergreen during the 2009 Sculpture Walk. This year, Maldjan is back with his steel, powder-coated sculpture, “Aureus Ruber,” which is featured outside of Go Paint! in downtown Evergreen. The sculpture is a colorful take on giant orange and red flowers opening to the Colorado sunshine.

Each year the Sculpture Walk is highly anticipated not only by art lovers and downtown shoppers but by the young art lovers of Evergreen. This year’s scultpures surely won’t disappoint our fledgling aficionados. Outside Baskin-Robbins, the kids will love perching on “Bear Chair,” a bronze bear created by Julie Jones that simply reaches out for a hug from each passer-by.

It’s no surprise that Ellen Woodbury of Loveland created a sculpture that kids and grownups alike will love. Woodbury spent 20 years as the directing animator and character animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation and brought to life many well-known characters, including Zazu the bird in “The Lion King” and Pegasus the flying horse in “Hercules.” Woodbury’s creation, “See Through Other Eyes,” is a spotted owl made from Yule Marble. The owl’s eyes are carved all the way through the stone and invite viewers at the Park at the Dam to gaze all the way through the sculpture at the world around them.

Some sculptures are so loved by the kids and grown-up kids of our community that we have a hard time letting them go. After a year at Stagecoach Park, “Bob the Dinosaur,” by Lakewood artist Greg Wassil, wasn’t ready to leave Evergreen. Art for the Mountain Community sponsored “Save Bob the Dinosaur” to make this beloved sculpture a permanent resident of our town. With the money raised in this community-wide campaign, “Bob” became the 28th permanent sculpture donated to Evergreen by AMC. “Bob the Dinosaur” also won the People’s Choice Award for last year’s Sculpture Walk.

In addition to the People’s Choice Award, another sculpture receives the best-in-show award, the Sternberg Award, which is named after Barbara Sternberg, one of the original founders of Art for the Mountain Community. Each year, AMC hosts an esteemed juror to select the Sternberg Award. This year’s judge was Deborah Jordy, executive director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts. Jordy awarded the top prize to James Moore of Fort Collins for his bronze, flagstone and welded steel bell, “Great Blue Heron Through the Ages,” which was at the “Lutheran Church of the Cross.

Meanwhile, the new Sculpture Walk entries have taken up residence at the Evergreen post office, the Buchanan Rec Center ponds and Lakepoint Center, to name just a few locations. The sculptures will be on display for the public to enjoy until next summer. As you’re dropping off your mail, trick-or-treating downtown or enjoying dinner by the lake, be sure to take note of your favorite and vote. Thanks to Art for the Mountain Community and your vote, you may have a say in the next permanent public art piece in Evergreen.

For more information about the 2011-12 Sculpture Walk or to vote for your favorite sculpture, visit AMC’s website at www.mountainart.org.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.