The city of Durango is looking for public art to adorn the long narrow medians near the U.S. Highway 550/160 intersection, where the controversial Arc of History was once located.
The city received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to fund new public art, said Colleen O’Brien, the city’s business development and redevelopment coordinator.
“The goal is just to make it a more attractive entrance to Durango,” she said.
The city picked the intersection again for public art, in part, because it is one of the busiest in town, she said.
For the new installation, the city plans to select a lead artist to develop a concept that will reflect the character of Durango and work with local students and community members to participate in creating the sculpture.
“This can really be a community piece that is extremely unique,” O’Brien said.
The lead artist is expected to be selected by January and will likely work with community members and students from Fort Lewis College and Durango High School to create the art. City staff members, community members and the Colorado Department of Transportation will also be involved in the project.
“The lead artist will have a really great support system,” O’Brien said.
The city also plans to apply for more money through the National Endowment for the Arts to fund the project, she said.
Eventually, the city plans to place a new sculpture where the Arc of History was located with the insurance money that the city received because the Arc of History was damaged, she said.
The Arc of History was initially met with some outrage over its cost and aesthetic value when it was installed in 2014. In 2015, it was adorned with dinosaur and dragon heads, before baby dinosaurs hatched at its base.
The pranks turned into vandalism when the stones were damaged in mid-2015. The Durango Public Art Commission decided to remove the sculpture in 2016 and auction off the stones.