Bears are featured prominently on the proposed sculptures for the busy U.S. Highway 550/160 median. So if bears are some kind of Durango symbol, why not be ultra-realistic? Why not include sculptures of unlocked dumpsters and garbage strewn all over the place? To make the art interactive, we could have a chalkboard with an updated tally of all the bears that had to be killed for consuming our trash. – Keeping It Real
Let’s ask the real question here:
How long does it take for Snowdown’s mirthful buzz to wear off?
Apparently, seven days.
Last week, everyone was laughing, enjoying a parade and not taking anything too seriously.
But here we are today, right back to grumpiness, expressing righteous indignation and criticizing artwork that does not yet exist.
Just as the intersection has lower speed limits, we need to slow down and go with the continuous flow.
The three finalists chosen for the project are merely presenting concepts, not specifics. Moreover, the public, including school kids of all ages, will be the main influencers of the final design, icons and symbols, whatever they might be.
“If enough people think it’s important to include bear-scattered trash as representative of Durango, then that’s what we’ll do,” artist Cindy Atchison said with a chuckle. “But I’m pretty sure garbage won’t be on the A list.”
Meanwhile, artist Allison Leigh Smith said she was really looking forward to public input to determine the imagery on her proposed metal panels. Her plan includes shared videos and photos as well as a hashtag to post on social media platforms.
The third finalist, Bryce Pettit, like his colleagues, is guided by community involvement. He hopes Durangoans will celebrate the good of living in bear country.
“I think that public art should represent our best ideas instead of highlighting our failings,” he said via email.
“There are many issues and problems around bears that need our public attention, but my hope is that by featuring bears in public art, we are all reminded of how they fit into the place where we live, and be inspired to improve.”
In the meantime, if we want warts-and-all graphic “realism” in our public art, the installation should feature silhouettes of cheese cubes, cups of cheap wine and raffle tickets – all of which pay homage to Durango’s endless string of fundraisers for the hundreds of struggling nonprofits.
In the midst of the median, there could be a conspicuous blank spot. This would symbolize the EPA’s empty promises to pay restitution for its not-so-wise strategy of poking holes around sealed mines.
Meanwhile, if anyone asks about the orange rust patina on the metal artwork, we can say it references the color the Animas River turned after the Gold King Mine disaster.
But most of all, we should tilt the installed artwork sharply to the left, signifying Durango as a left-leaning community.
However, this would mean that on the opposite side of the highway, the artwork would be right-leaning. Which is equally fine, as this would represent the county’s predominant political orientation.
On this right-leaning side, we include symbols such as guns, horses and the United Nations’ logo with a slash through it.
Remember, you have until Feb. 23 to vote on which concept you’d like most for the median. Do it at www.durangogov.org/virtualcityhall.
And because this is an election, Action Line should remind readers that there have been no reports of Russians meddling. At least not yet.
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you suspect that all the unsold Valentine’s Day candy gets melted down and recycled into Easter candy.