New sculptures on Main
2 of the 13 offer new feature: illumination
Penny looks like she’s trying her very best.
Half in, half out of her speckled shell, you can almost feel the baby tortoise’s efforts to free herself, to get down from her plinth, to explore Main Street.
“Penny” — one of 13 sculptures installed on Main Street Saturday as part of Grand Junction’s much-loved public art initiative, Art on the Corner — is a testament to willpower and hope, according to her creator, Palisade artist Gary Hauschulz.
“A tortoise, when they hatch, they really only have a one in 50 chance of surviving,” said Hauschulz, who came up with the idea after seeing road signs warning motorists of crossing tortoises while en route to the Mojave Desert. “So here’s this tortoise poking up out of the egg with this determination and zest that, ‘I’m going to live.’ “
The Art on the Corner program, spearheaded in 1984 by local artist Dave Davis, solicits submissions from artists who compete for a spot in a year-long temporary public exhibit in downtown Grand Junction, according to Allison Blevins. She is director of the Downtown Grand Junction Business Improvement District.
The collection — chosen this year by curator Avery Glassman of the Western Colorado Center for the Arts in a departure from the committee selections of years past — includes pieces from four Western Slope artists: Hauschulz of Palisade, two others from Grand Junction, and one from Delta, according to Vonda Bauer.
She is an administrative specialist for the Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority and the Business Improvement District.
Other artists featured are from across Colorado as well as from New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
This year’s collection includes for the first time two illuminated sculptures — “Hope Again,” between Sixth and Seventh streets, and “Cloud Busters” outside the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 225 Main St., Bauer said.
Blevins said the annual temporary exhibit change is widely anticipated.
“It’s definitely very beloved,” she said. “It was one of the first of its kind in the country … It’s very special to downtown.”
In recent years the Downtown Development Authority has moved away from adding to its collection of more than 100 pieces of owned art, according to Blevins.
This year, though, it did make a purchase — the sunflower-themed sculpture “Sun Worshipers” by western Colorado artist Jeff Fasnacht, which graces the roundabout on N. Seventh and Main streets.
“It was just such a beloved piece,” Blevins said, adding that a private donation and money left over from the The Legends Sculpture Project helped make the $9,000 purchase.
“WWII Fliers Memorial” will also be staying in its current spot at N. Seventh and Main streets, “because it is really big and hard to move,” Blevins said. “We’re going to keep that guy a little bit longer.”