New sculptures installed in advance of

Will Grandbois
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Andrew Arvaenetes helps maneuver "Homespun" into place with help from Smiley Wise and Michael Taylor.
Will Grandbois / Post Independent |

2016 participating artists

John Hoffman (Carbondale, CO)

Tim DeShong (Denver, CO)

Ted Schaal ( Loveland, CO)

Paul Bloch (Santa Fe, NM)

John Simms (Jackson, WY)

Daniel Romano (Colo Springs, CO)

Matthew Duffy (Washington D.C.)

Joe Sackett (Albuquerque, NM)

Steven Durow (Fruitland, MD)

Francis Fox (Boise, ID)

Dimitry Domani ( Durango, CO)

Andrew Arvanetes (DeKalb, IL)

Jamie Burnes (Santa Fe, NM)

Steven Carmer (Fort Collins, CO)

On a beautiful May morning, Illinois artist Andrew Arvanetes pulls up to the corner of Seventh and Main in Carbondale. Although it’s his first visit to the area, he’s here to install a sculpture as part of the Carbondale Public Arts Commission’s Art aRound Town program.

“I know there’s a lot of interest and good work being done in this area, and I wanted to be part of it,” he says. “I love the small-town atmosphere. I think the scenery in Colorado is so incredible and diverse.”

The piece, titled “Homespun,” reflects his constant motion between his home in Chicago, his studio in DeKalb, Illinois, and frequent trips to the mountains. He’s one of the first artists to make the trip to Carbondale and won’t have a chance to explain the monopoly-like houses, the mountain spire or the turbine blades during the Carbondale Public Arts Commission’s Art Walk on Thursday.

Still, he has a chance to see the spot where his work will spend the next year, when it will either sell or return to him. The location, across from the downtown bus stop and a stone’s throw from Sopris Park, is an auspicious one. Ernesto the bison occupied the spot before a wealthy patron donated him to the town, as did the infamous “Pink Bunny,” which won Best of Show in 2013 and was purchased by a couple just down the street.

The remaining art will be switched out by Thursday, when the Art Walk will depart from Town Hall at 5:30 p.m. From there, each artist will explain the vision and process of their particular piece. The walk ends at the Marble Distilling Co., which will host a reception for the community and the artists beginning around 7 p.m. with a band, food and drinks.

“Talking to the artist about their piece gives a viewer a window into its meaning and provides real connections,” observes Carbondale Public Arts Commission chairwoman Cheryl Bumgarner, as streets foreman Smiley Wise — himself a sculptor — helps maneuver “Homespun” into place and fleet mechanic Michael Taylor begins to weld it down to a base of local Yule marble.

“Artists are thrilled to put their sculptures on these,” Bumgarner says. “The marble gives every piece a presence — it elevates it.”

It was Bumgarner’s idea to call up the new quarry owners in Marble.

“I believe if you don’t ask, you don’t get,” she says. “They wanted to build a relationship with the community.”

Indeed, the quarry owners ended up donating 22 tons last year and 40 more this year. The stone will anchor the 14 rotating sculptures downtown as well as the arts commission’s 28 permanent pieces.

The organization has come a long way since 2002, when five locally produced pieces comprised the first show.

Now, the call for entries nets around 70 applicants from all over the country, which the board winnows down through three stages of voting.

“I think we get better every year,” Bumgarner says. “The older pieces tell us where we came from, the current pieces tell us what’s happening now, and we’re looking to see what the future will bring.”

Locals are encouraged to vote for Best of Show through a survey on the town website. The winning artist will receive a $1,000 award.

For more information, search for “Carbondale Public Arts Commission” on Facebook or visit