The latest public art installation in Cherry Hills Village, Flying Cranes, is shown in computer-generated position at the intersection of Happy Canyon and Quincy.
By Jan Wondra
The location of the next public art installation in Cherry Hills Village was approved at the Feb. 5 City Council meeting. The installation, by Colorado-based sculptor and artist Reven Swanson, is titled Flying Cranes.
The three-crane kinetic sculpture will rest in public space near the intersection of Happy Canyon and Quincy Avenue. To be constructed of 11-gauge plate steel, each crane will be colored in vibrantly-colored powder coat finishes of blue, green and orangey-red, contrasted with yellow. Set into a natural environment of trees and a grassy berm, the whimsical cranes will spin and move in the wind.
“For the placement of public art work, I had to consider, most importantly, appropriateness. The design for a signature and site-specific sculpture must meet the prerequisite of both a drive-by and pedestrian sculpture,” Swanson said. “The installation must fit appropriately with the natural elements of the location, as well as the neighborhood character.”
Under the direction of the new Cherry Hills Village Art Commission, public art is being directed toward neighborhood gathering places and natural sites suitable to the intent of the art.
“The kinetic movement has an emotional and physical connection to the migration of the cranes,” Swanson said.
The image is an environmental message as well. Cranes are among the most endangered bird species in the world and were the first species to receive U.S. legislative protection. Of the two types of cranes native to North America, the Whooping Crane is critically endangered, with only 500 birds estimated to be left in the wild. The Sand Hill Crane, the most common in Colorado, is also an endangered species.
Each vibrant, joyful crane will fly 10 feet off the ground, on installation poles set into subset concrete pads masked by natural materials. The three cranes will line up as if in migration pattern. Like birds in flight, they will shift and move as the direction of the wind shifts, just as wind currents in flight cause birds to adjust their flight patterns.
“As visitors travel past the sculpture, whether by foot or vehicle, the installation will be ever-changing,” said Swanson, “making the visual image fresh with every visit or approach to the site.”
The CHVAC was careful to consult with community groups as the site selection planning got underway.
“We had members of the horseback riding community look at the site and the model,” said Councilwoman Klasina Vanderwerf, who is the council liaison to the CHVAC. “The committee wanted to be sure that the kinetic movement wouldn’t frighten horses. But we received feedback that the height of the cranes, and the location, are just fine with the horse people.”
The steel sculptures will be fabricated in studio and installation is projected for early to mid-May. The body of work is on indefinite loan to Cherry Hills Village. The installation cost of $6,250 is recoverable if at some point in the future the piece is sold.
“This is a signature piece,” said Mayor Doug Tisdale. “It’s a joyful, one-of-a-kind addition that will be a wonderful public statement about life and existence, right at a major entrance to the community.”
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