Public Art Installation Approved by Board of Trustees
On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the Board of Trustees approved the design for a new, vibrant art piece, the first installation in Erie for the Public Art Group.
Art is a representation of the community, and it was important to create a resident-led volunteer group of 10 participants to drive the decision-making process. An art consultant, Designing Local Ltd., was also hired to lend expertise and best practices to the process. Residents interested in public art or with an art background were encouraged to apply for the Public Art Group. Those interested in being a part of the group were invited to a discussion around what public art is, concepts, ideas, and more. To gain an understanding of optimal art locations, the volunteer group completed a bike tour of 12-15 prominent locations around Erie, narrowing the final potential locations to three and allowing the artist to have some autonomy with their designs.
In total, 105 artists applied to have their art installed in the Town. The Public Art Group considered each application and design in depth and narrowed the choices to three finalists. Those three artists were then invited to develop a concept for the art piece within 60 days. On Jan. 12, the Public Art Group conducted interviews with the finalists and after a group discussion, Wings to Dreams by Dixie Friend Gay was selected as Erie's first public art piece by the volunteer group.
Wings to Dreams will be installed in the grassy area between the Erie Community Center and the High Plains Library. The art piece consists of three stainless steel, iridescent pillars ranging in height from 15ft to 20ft. The three pillars will be painted in distinct colors and appear to change color as the light moves. These pillars consist of unique items symbolizing the spirit of Erie and Colorado.
It is the opinion of the Public Art Group, and agreed by the Board of Trustees, that Dixie's piece successfully captures the essence of Erie and sets the stage for future public art pieces in Town. It is welcoming to all community members, provides an extension of our natural beauty, creates an opportunity for connection and meaningful conversation, and invites viewers to deepen our imagination and curiosity. These values were identified by the Public Art Group and illustrate what they hope iconic public art in Erie will do.
The Public Art Program was initiated in March 2022 after the Board and staff analyzed results from the 2021 Community Survey which indicated dissatisfaction from the resident with Erie having little to no public art compared to our surrounding municipalities. With Board approval, a budget of $325,000 was adopted to begin this project, and the artist and design selection has been about six months in the making.
Timing of the art piece installation is not yet decided, but it will take place sometime in fall 2023.