Snowmass Village adding Joe McDonnell’s ‘Ice Cubes’ series to town’s art collection
Snowmass Village is adding to its art collection after Town Council agreed to continue with a piece commissioned for the Town Park Station area.
After sorting through nearly 80 applications this spring, the Snowmass Art Advisory Board told council July 1 they liked the piece “Ice Cubes” by New York-based sculpture artist Joe McDonnell, who has similar installations around the country.
The Snowmass piece is a series of clear cubes that will be stacked 12 feet high, 16 feet wide and 8 feet deep, according to the current design. SAAB board member Katherine Bell said the polyurethane cubes would be arranged to complement the surrounding landscape.
“They would form the shape of the mountains with tumbling movement and sweeping landscape,” Bell told council, adding it would be “fitting in the winter, and unexpected in the summer.”
The choice was lauded by the four councilmembers in attendance (Bill Madsen was absent).
“Now we have to figure out where the rest of the money comes from,” Mayor Markey Butler said after the presentation and consensus. “That will be another day.”
There was conversation about the maintenance — which the board said would be about every four years by public works and at a low cost and cleaning with mainly soap and water — and if it would create a glare or distraction for drivers on Brush Creek Road.
Bell said McDonnell addressed that in the proposal and said the cubes will be more opaque and the shine factor would be “taken down.” He is willing to work on the cubes’ arrangement and is “flexible to suggestions,” Bell said.
The council in February committed as much as $100,000 for a piece, and they previously budgeted $60,000 in the 2019 town budget for arts projects. The McDonnell piece is estimated at $99,200 for artist’s costs and installation.
Town staff next will work on a contract with McDonnell. Community Development Director Julie Ann Woods said the “Ice Cubes” piece could be installed as early as the fall, according to McDonnell. It would take McDonnell two to three months to create and four to five days to install.
One of advisory board’s three finalists, McDonnell wrote in his proposal that the “cube compositions began in 1991, and since then I have created over 200 cube sculptures in various materials.”
His series has clear cubes in different sizes and settings, including floating in pools, cascading like a waterfall and stacked in a pyramid.
He said it started for a client who wanted a “quirky sculpture for her desert residents.”
Butler expressed her appreciation for the board’s work, especially coming after the controversial sculpture that was gifted to the town and is displayed in the roundabout near Town Hall.
“I do want to applaud the committee. This committee has been through some very difficult times with our last piece of donated art, and it was tough,” the mayor said. “This group continued to persevere and work through it. You’ve worked very, very hard to work through a policy and a procedure.”
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