Sculpture unveiled at Chipeta Elementary

Artist Tracy Munson and Roland McCook, great grandson of Chipeta, stand before the newly unveiled sculpture that will be installed in the lobby of Chipeta Elementary School.



Roland McCook, great grandson of Chipeta, told the children at Chipeta Elemenatry Tuesday afternoon that his grandmother was a woman always surrounded by children.

Chipeta, wife of Ute Indian Chief Ouray, was very influential in the lives of McCook’s great-grandfather and the other children in the tribe. “She raised a lot of kids and many of them called her grandma,” he said.

McCook explained that he thought of the elementary school as a nest in which the children were learning to “fly like little sparrows.”

He knew that the teachers and staff at the school were continuing the legacy of work that Chipeta started and he was proud that her image would greet visitors to the school thanks to the combined efforts of School District 51, the Grand Junction Commission for the Arts and the City of Grand Junction’s Art on the Corner program.

The sculpture depicts a young Chipeta holding hands with an child. It was created by artist Tracy Munson of Cedaredge and will be installed in the front entryway of the recently constructed school.

“I feel so honored and priveledged to be able to create this new piece of art for all of you,” Munson told the students. She plans on including a scrapbook of the sculpting process for the students.

Having a special piece of art to represent the school leaves an invalueable legacy, said Mayor Teresa Coons.

“Today we’re going to unveil something that will really speak to the community about what a special school this is,” Coons said.

She thanked everyone involved in the collaborative effort—the artists, businesses and organizations—who worked together to commission this piece of artwork for the children. The sculpture cost $10,000 but will benefit generations of elementary school students in the future.


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