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Bike sculpture crosses finish line

‘Endurance’ dedicated for USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Savannah Wiener, 6, keeps her father, Joshua, dry after his cycling sculpture was dedicated Friday. The family ventured outside after rain forced the dedication to be moved from the middle of the roundabout at Florida Road and Riverview Drive to the Chapman Hill skating rink lobby. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Savannah Wiener, 6, keeps her father, Joshua, dry after his cycling sculpture was dedicated Friday. The family ventured outside after rain forced the dedication to be moved from the middle of the roundabout at Florida Road and Riverview Drive to the Chapman Hill skating rink lobby.

A bicycle sculpture was dedicated under hanging hockey jerseys Friday after rain showers pushed the ceremony inside the Chapman Hill skating rink lobby.

Overcoming a storm was fitting for an artwork named “Endurance,” which is meant to be a “blurry photograph” image of five racing cyclists nearing a finish line.

Boulder-based sculptor Joshua Wiener said he wanted to evoke “that notion of being exhausted, of putting in that last bit of effort” to win the big race.

With help from Durango artist Chester Haring, Wiener made 24,000 welds on the five 800-pound sculptures of rusted steel bars.

Funded with a $25,000 donation from Bank of Colorado, the sculpture at the Florida Road roundabout was commissioned to commemorate the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Durango is the starting point for the 683-mile race across Colorado that will begin Monday.

Durango Mayor Doug Lyon appreciated the symbolism of pushing toward the finish line because so many people have been working for so long to make the event happen here.

“There are hundreds of people who have been involved, (especially) the 28 people in our local organizing committee who have been working 24 hours a day for about six months to put this whole thing together,” he said in front of about 50 people who had planned to gather around the sculpture but never got a chance because of the afternoon deluge.

Credit was also given to a local selection committee that chose Wiener’s proposal in April after an open competition.

The sculpture is meant to look in motion by playing on the perspective of the viewer entering the roundabout, but Carol Martin, the chairwoman of the Public Arts Commission, said the sculpture also symbolizes the many sides of the city.

“Durango has a thriving art community,” she said. “It also has a vibrant cycling and outdoor community. I was really thrilled we could combine these two.”

Adam Wiener, a Durango resident and older brother of the sculptor, said he is impressed that Joshua Wiener has been able to make a career from public art commissions since his ongoing projects include art pieces for the new light-rail station at the Broncos’ football stadium in Denver, a new transit center in Boulder and a community garden in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Joshua Wiener credited Durango with giving him his start because he sold his first sculpture to a resident named John Cole when Wiener was 19. He also did the sculpture in front of the old library building at 12th Street and East Second Avenue.

Wiener lived in Durango for almost 10 years beginning in 1993. He met his wife, Gia, during the Christmas season of 2000 when she was waiting tables at Ken & Sue’s restaurant.

“It was funny because I was really disgruntled about working on the patio,” she said. “It was so cold. Then he came in with three other friends and sat down at my table.

“When his food came out, it was the wrong order. He decided to take it back to the kitchen on his own. That kind of started it,” she said.

The couple has two children, Anders, 7, and Savannah, 6.

Gia writes the proposals for his public art projects.

As his wife, she made she sure he crossed the finish line for the sculpture.

“I just kept on him, ‘It’s due, it’s due.’ That’s my job to keep it all in front of him till he gets it done,” she said.

jhaug@durangoherald.com