By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
The Carbondale Public Arts Commission (CPAC), established 18 years ago, is about to go into its “public” role once again with a celebration of a new round of 15 sculptures erected in “highly visible places around the town,” as stated on its Facebook page.
To celebrate the 2017 collection of sculpture, submitted by artists from around Colorado as well as New Mexico, Oregon, and Minnesota, CPAC will hold its annual Art Walk on June 1, as a way of showing off the new group of art pieces to as many members of the public as show up.
The Art Walk begins at Town Hall at 5:30 p.m., and culminates with a reception at The Launchpad, home of the Carbondale Arts organization and Dance Initiative, a local dance instruction and presentation nonprofit, at 76 S. Fourth St. Libations and appetizers will be served at the reception.
The Art aRound Town program (or ART, for short,) the advertising poster points out, is made possible by the Town of Carbondale and its Public Works department.
The town set up CPAC in 1999 “to promote all forms of visual art to be displayed throughout our community, for the benefit of residents and visitors,” the CPAC Facebook page declares.
In 2005, the town’s trustees enacted a “1% for the Arts” fund, allocating money for acquisition and placement of the sculptures around town. The money is obtained from the funding for “certain town capital improvement projects,” which Town Manager Jay Harrington said basically came from construction funds for the Carbondale Recreation and Community Center a few years ago.
Harrington said the fund also is regularly fed by 25-percent commissions the town collects from sale of the art pieces, and that additionally the fund covers the cost of “honoraria” payments to the artists and other costs.
The CPAC Facebook page offers images of different art pieces that have been selected for display, as well as photos of public works employees at work setting up the various new artworks, and some of the pieces that have finished out their year-long display and were taken down.
The Facebook page also advertises that internationally renowned sculptor James Surls, who fashioned the piece that stands at the center of the roundabout at Main Street and Highway 133, will be on hand at the June 1 celebration; and other images that offer hard evidence that Carbondale is a town that gives serious attention to public art.
For example, there is a photo of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s Carbondale Circulator bus, a 26-passenger van put into service last year to replace the larger bus that often had more seats than passengers.
The Circulator, as can be attested by anyone who has seen it, is colorfully festooned with 20 sketches of what were termed “humanized animals” created by submissions from 130 middle school students under the auspices of the Carbondale Arts organization.