Lego creations will be popping up in coming weeks in businesses and possibly transit stops along north Main Avenue.
“People can start looking for stuff. It won’t be where you think it will be,” said Sam Bridgham, Durango’s self-proclaimed Lego bomber.
Bridgham uses Legos to create original sculptures on bridges, signposts, electrical boxes and other infrastructure around Durango. He has been doing it since summer 2016. He calls it Lego bombing, similar to “yarn bombing” in some cities, in which knitters or crocheters “graffiti” public spaces with yarn. The project is the first to receive funding through the city’s Durango Creates! grant program.
“I’m a vandal with a badge and a budget,” Bridgham joked.
The city’s Public Art Commission on Tuesday approved his request for $1,000 for supplies, marketing materials and his time.
The city set aside $20,000 this year for the new grant program to fund creative projects, such as public art, pop-up shops and events that will draw residents to the north Main corridor. Those with a creative vision can apply for up to $5,000.
“These projects will result in a concentration of social and cultural activities within the districts,” said Colleen O’Brien, the city’s business development and redevelopment coordinator. “It causes community members to take a second look, check out an area or business they haven’t visited in a while, and it will also get the attention of tourists.”
Bridgham’s pieces will be “bigger and grander” than sculptures he’s installed previously because they won’t be in danger of being smashed, vandalized or removed, which is a risk he normally takes. The pieces will be displayed until businesses hosting them decide to take them down.
The pieces will include some dioramas that hide in plain sight, ready for curious residents to hunt down after April 21.
The art pieces are part of Bridgham’s larger vision to create an app for smartphones to guide users through visual clues to find artworks and attractions along the corridor and in similar urban settings.
“It’s like Pokémon Go except the stuff is actually there,” he said. Pokémon Go is a gaming app that leads users on a hunt to find digital monsters.
Bridgham is working to develop the app, but it won’t be finished by April 21. The app could help users discover historical landmarks and other attractions as well, he said.
“It doesn’t have to be one of my things that you find,” Bridgham said. “It just has to be wonderful.”
The city is accepting applications for its Durango Creates! grants until Oct. 15.