A mother elk and her two calves will grace commuters on Heritage Road for generations to come. “The statue is designed to be part of the everyday scene,” said Golden resident Preston Driggers. …
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The community is invited to the unveiling celebration of the Protecting the Future statue.
It takes place at 10:30 a.m. April 27 at the Kimball Avenue roundabout on Heritage Road. Attendees will have the opportunity to view the piece up close and meet-and-greet the artist Christine Knapp and project sponsors.
The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.
To learn more about the project, visit www.awego.org.
A mother elk and her two calves will grace commuters on Heritage Road for generations to come.
“The statue is designed to be part of the everyday scene,” said Golden resident Preston Driggers. “It will be seen by residents, daily commuters, visitors and children who attend Shelton Elementary School.”
The new bronze statue will be installed on the roundabout at Kimball Avenue and Heritage Road. Titled “Protecting the Future,” the statue will be a life-sized bronze statue of a mother elk and her two calves. Each one of the elk will face an entrance to the roundabout — representing the realistic alertness of a mother elk watching over her calves.
“Public art is free to all who want to look,” Driggers said. “It is open to everyone’s interpretations as they feel that day.”
The idea to place a public art piece on the roundabout came about in the spring of 2015. The city of Golden hosted a community information meeting about the Heritage Road roundabouts project, and a city councilor informally mentioned that placing a public art piece on the largest of the three roundabouts — the Kimball Avenue intersection — might be worth looking into, Driggers said.
A group of neighbors liked the idea and formed a group that eventually became known as Art With Elk in Golden (AWEGO). AWEGO is a resident group run by volunteers that receives tax exemption benefits through its fiscal sponsorship from the Golden Civic Foundation.
AWEGO first proposed its idea to Golden’s Public Art Commission in May 2015.
“It became obvious that the Public Art Commission had no policies or procedures — or had even given thought to — the possibility of a neighborhood proposing a public art piece,” Driggers said.
However, the commission had AWEGO back at its June 2015 meeting and a subcommittee was formed, which consisted of two city art commissioners and four AWEGO neighbors. The subcommittee served as a liaison between AWEGO and the Public Art Commission.
Extensive discussions, researching of artists and decision-making continued for about a year, Driggers said. Then, in July 2016, the Public Art Commission voted unanimously and gave AWEGO the “go-ahead” for the project, Driggers said.
AWEGO had a few desires for the public art piece — the group wanted it to be original, for it to reflect the neighborhood’s family qualities, model Golden values and to be sculpted by a Colorado artist.
The Public Art Commission approved sculptor Christine Knapp — an experienced wildlife artist and signature member of the Society of Animal Artists — as the artist in July 2016.
Knapp enjoyed every part of the process, she said, from working with AWEGO and the public art commission on the original concept to the actual sculpting of the statue.
Residing in the mountains outside of Lyons, Knapp has an interest in wildlife conservation and is proud to provide the Golden community with a statue that represents the wildlife here in Colorado, she said.
“It will remind people of the importance of protecting the resident elk herd,” Knapp said. “It’s up to us humans to work hard and create a habitat that is shared by us and the wildlife.”
At that July 2016 meeting, the public art commission also decided to co-fund the project.
Total cost for the statues was $55,000, and AWEGO was given two years from the date of signing the artist contract to raise its half which was $27,500.
Fundraising efforts began largely in August 2016. They included AWEGO appearances at a variety of community events, and selling Elk Droppings — rich, dark chocolates sold in various local shops.
The funds were raised and an unveiling ceremony for the Protecting the Future statue takes place April 27.
AWEGO accomplished its goal of providing an original, public art piece in south Golden, Driggers said. But more so, he added, AWEGO laid the foundation for any resident group to propose public art pieces in their neighborhoods.
“We opened the doors for others,” Driggers said. “There’s now the possibility to have public art in all the neighborhoods throughout Golden.”
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