Sculptures that could come to the streets of Durango to stay drew strong reactions Wednesday at the Durango Public Library.
A steady stream of people attended an open house held to solicit comments from the public before the city purchases three of the seven sculptures now in the running for addition to the city’s public art collection.
The city has set aside $24,000 to buy the sculptures to install permanently. Two will be placed near the Animas River and another will be installed behind Ecosphere, on Eighth Street between East Second and East Third avenues.
The pieces vary widely, from a large stone pillar to a wind-powered piece called “Frolic,” which features a fish and some bicycle gears.
Residents voiced both disdain and appreciation as they cast their votes for their top three.
“Frolic” drew a diverse group of fans because of its color and dynamic design.
“People of all ages will spend time looking at it,” Wanda Prowell said.
To some, a sculpture featuring two large fish also seemed a good fit for display near the river.
“The fish look cool coming out of the stone and flying,” said Caleb Bates, a fourth-grader at Sunnyside Elementary.
Mary Bates and her son, Caleb, came to the library specifically to let the selection committee know how they felt.
“I think art selection is very difficult because it’s very subjective,” Mary Bates said.
Many residents missed out on the art selection process when the Arc of History, placed at the intersection of U.S. highways 550 and 160, was chosen, and they wanted to vote this time.
“I just think that is a glaring mistake,” Prowell said.
But while some were unhappy with the Arc, many want to see public art added.
“It differentiates your ordinary town from a culturally rich town,” said Kathy Myrick, a local photographer and executive director of the San Juan Symphony.
After the public weighs in, nine people will make a final decision later in April.
The selection committee includes three members from the city’s art commission, an arts professional, two members of the general public, a representative from Ecosphere and a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. This same group narrowed the field from 117 pieces to seven.
To submit comments to the city about the pieces online, visit the city’s website.