ARTIST SELECTION PROCESS:
The City of Pueblo Planning and Community Development Department facilitated the selection of the public art finalist Ken Williams Studios. The call for entry was made through CAFÉ, WESTAF Company, an online call for entry service where artists were able to submit their applications and sample of work for review by jury. The CAFÉ is used internationally by public agencies for public art projects. Twenty-eight artists submitted applications from the selected four corner states of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona at the beginning of 2017. The four corner states were selected due to the southwest theme of the project. The jury went through two rounds of review and eliminations to narrow the finalists to four. The four semi-finalists that were selected were Ken Williams Studios from Pueblo, CO; Barbara Grygutis Sculptures from Tucson, AZ; Michael Clapper Studios from Denver, CO; and Demiurge, LLC from Denver, CO.
“The River” - Ken Williams Studios
HOW WILL THE PROJECT CREATE A NEW SENSE OF IDENTITY FOR THE COMMUNITY?
The Gateway to the Southwest monumental sculptures will introduce a sense of identity and place to the traveler on I-25 and the region. The monumental sculptures will tower over the Interstate presenting a significant statement and image while welcoming the visitor and traveler to Pueblo. It will identify Pueblo as an important place of commerce, culture, arts and history positioned as an oasis in a semi-arid landscape on the Arkansas River. The monumental sculptures will be a statement to the traveler that Pueblo is a great community embellishing its history in a new era serving as the Gateway to the Southwest.
Public Art is often site-specific, meaning it is created in response to the place and community in which it resides. It often interprets the history of the place, its people and perhaps addresses a social or environmental issue. – Americans for the Arts
The Gateway sculptures will bring a physical awareness to the beauty of the art and its ability to improve Pueblo's image and morale, support economic development efforts and in addition, create an online showcase for the creativity and innovation going on in Southeastern Colorado today.
We are close to branding Pueblo in its creative, diverse and cultural light, with colorful and towering Gateway to the Southwest sculptures. The funding is already halfway achieved and the wheels are moving quickly to take this vision to a physical reality.
Pueblo is a community of proud people with a strong generational working and family ethic. Those of us who work and live in Pueblo and all Southeastern Colorado are proud of the creativity, energy and opportunities that are abundant while still honoring our roots. The names of Steel City, Home of Heroes, Experience the Flavor and Pueblo Chilies will all be inclusive with the new branding. The old negative, tired, stereotyped images of Pueblo will be replaced by a new era of Pueblo’s identity as a significant city of the southwest and in the State of Colorado. Our image is often a result of people’s lack of understanding of the southwest culture that is Pueblo.
HOW WILL THE GATEWAY TO THE SOUTHWEST SCULPTURES REACH OUR COMMUNITY?
Other than the monumental sculptural presence at the north entrance to the City, there will be an online showcase called the Gateway to Creativity and innovation Program which will be open to everyone and all ages. It will highlight all forms of art (dance to quilting), business innovation, writing, problem solving, etc.
The website and social media program is inclusive of a much grander audience: all of the artists and innovators of Pueblo, including our neighbors in Southeastern Colorado. Just like the monumental sculptures, the designated website, Facebook and Instagram pages will also serve to bring visibility and unity to Pueblo’s community of artists and innovators.
The website will work in such a way where users have the option to submit their work. Users will fill out a submission form with details about their art or innovation. All appropriate submissions will be accepted. We are particularly interested in the submissions that have been inspired by Pueblo’s unique attributes.
An educational program for school children will accompany the building of the structures in which students will be given instruction and opportunity to think critically, be creative, and collaborate and communicate with professionals creating and installing the sculptures.
This program has been designed upon the tenants of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) with activities planned for different age students. The art unit is special because students learn, from the artist himself, the process he went through to choose the symbols on the sculptures including the pottery designs, wagon wheel, steel, wind, plants, sunshine and water landscapes.
Students will undoubtedly gain a deeper appreciation for Pueblo, their roots, and the pioneers, industry, farming, ranching and environment that are special and unique to Pueblo. By the end of the project, they will understand why their hometown is the “Gateway to the Southwest” and will have a more intimate and true connection with our new and lasting landmarks.
HOW WILL THE DONOR’S RECOGNITION BE FULFILLED?
The donors will be recognized through the City’s web site and on Facebook and social media. Since the sculptures are located on top of the Dillon Drive bridge they can only be viewed from a distance or in a vehicle at a glance. There is no parking or pedestrian access provided. To properly recognize the artist and donors a reduced replica of the two sculptures is being proposed in downtown.