In a journey that started in the Jurassic era – with stops as public art, a piece of stolen loot and a philanthropic effort – the dinosaur head has found its forever home, as they say at the La Plata County Humane Society.
The dino will have pride of place at StoneAge Waterblast Tools after becoming the 65th birthday gift for co-founder Jerry Zink. The official unveiling took place at his party Friday night.
The venue for the dinosaur head could hardly be more perfect: A business named for the earliest age of humans, the hominids who lived closest in time to the age of dinosaurs.
“I don’t know whose idea it was,” Zink said, “but we thought it would be fun to buy it.”
The saga captured the community’s attention, reaching both readers’ and The Durango Herald newsroom staff’s Top Five of 2014 stories and garnering a mention on National Public Radio.
The dino head made its first public appearance on Halloween atop the Arc of History, the controversial public art piece at the intersection of U.S. Highway 550/160 near the DoubleTree Hotel. Alternately called a croissant, a boomerang and a thingamabob, the mostly scorned art piece received public acclaim once adorned with the head.
Alas, it was not long on site – after being stolen by a group of teens. After exulting in the acquisition, they were soon struck by an attack of conscience, turning it in to the Durango Police Department on Nov. 4.
For almost a week, the head was held captive in the evidence room while officers struggled to solve the mystery of its origins. On Nov. 10, the artist approached the police to claim the work, and the head was released to him.
Later, the head appeared at Studio &. The gallery’s manager said the artist was “hell-bent on being anonymous” when he asked the gallery to sell it. Try as he might to remain incognito, Benjamin Foisel was eventually revealed as the creator via a public records request to the DPD.
The dinosaur head was auctioned to benefit education programs at the Durango Arts Center.
Karen Zink, Jerry Zink’s wife, was the successful bidder at $3,500 at the stroke of 5 p.m. Nov. 26. Because her budget for the head was $5,000, she wrote the check for that amount to the arts center, calling it a small price to pay.
“It’s been terrific, community fun,” she said, joking that she had bought it for “anonymous bidder 1,” adding another, and probably final, mystery to the dinosaur head’s journey.
And now that mystery is solved, too, as the dinosaur head reaches the end of its journey.
Or is it?
“I think it may go to special events now and then,” Jerry Zink said. “It might possibly show up in the Snowdown Parade this year.”