Salida Commissioned Public Art Sculpture Installation In Final Stages – by Merrell Bergin

The City of Salida Public Art Commission (PAC) met in regular session on April 4, 2024. Led by Chair Martin Jolley, the meeting covered three major topics.

Ed Haddaway sculpture to be installed soon

Albuquerque, NM sculptor Ed Haddaway was chosen by the commission from 37 entries in last summer’s call for art. His piece “Early Morning Walk” will soon be installed at the site of the “original” Salida Skate Park at 200 West First Street between F and G Streets, at the Monarch Spur Trail. According to Salida Arts & Culture Supervisor Patrick O’Brien meetings have been held with city staff as well as Chaffee County officials coordinating the safe installation of what is considered by codes to be a “sign”.

The nearly 20 foot tall, colorful painted steel piece will visually announce the eastern gateway of downtown Salida. The sculpture’s installation requires an assessment by a structural engineer, based on submitted CAD drawings as well as an approved site plan from the City. Reportedly, immediate neighbor “River Ray” supports the installation. The sculptor is ready to come to Salida and begin the installation process. Steps include transport, a poured concrete base, installation of steel plates and finally, a lift to set it in place.

Give the sculpture’s size and work needed at the site, those approaching the downtown on West First may become curious “sidewalk superintendents”.  As schedule dates get closer, members of the PAC intend to release advance information about this nationally known sculptor, his portfolio and the significance of this investment in public art. Yet to be decided is the final orientation of the piece on the site so as to provide the maximum impact from distant vantage points.

Artist-initiated Project by Anne Walker

Chisholm Park attractions include indoor and outdoor seating, rest rooms, a drinking fountain, a prep counter with a sink and a gas grill. Street parking out front also includes two Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible parking spaces and a walkway to the pavilion. A playground was added in 2014. Merrell Bergin photo

Following up from the March 7 and March 21 PAC meetings, discussions continued about the details of the planned glass and mosaic art installation slated for a long wall at the rear of Salida’s Chisholm Park at 324 Hunt Street.

The commission’s preferred “fish” design will feature a combination of artist and community-created pieces, with details still being finalized. Said to be a “learning experience” for the PAC;  its professional artist-members seek a balance between supporting a “blank canvas” concept and “micromanaging” the local artist, while actively promoting community engagement.

PAC sets planning retreat

In an effort to help the relatively new commission mature as a governing body, a strategic approach for managing public art needs and projects is desired. Towards that end, the PAC expects to hold a multi-hour retreat, potentially on May 17. The date and location will be posted on the City of Salida website after confirming the venue and members’ availability.  A draft agenda may include:

  • Report from City staff
  • Review of current year projects
  • Next year  proposed projects
  • Review of the process for soliciting and accepting public art

Comprised of citizens and city staff, the seven-member commission includes: Martin Jolley (Chair), Maura Adamson (Secretary), Suzy Patterson, Reed Govert, Ken Brandon, Dania Pettus, and Carmel Burton. The city is represented by Michael Varnum, Arts and Culture Director, Patrick O’Brien, Arts and Culture Supervisor and Tina Gramann, Community Engagement Coordinator.

Featured image: Local sculptors exhibit in the Strawn-Grether Sculpture Garden at the Salida SteamPlant complex. Photo by Merrell Bergin

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