Where the rubber meets the art

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun
"The Cyclist" is one of two designs that Art Burrows, of Aspen, submitted that were chosen in the bike race contest conducted by the Snowmass Arts Advisory Board. Five designs by three artists were awarded with $4,000 to be built and installed around Snowmass Village.
Art Burrows/Courtesy image |

Art and function are coming together in five bike racks to be installed in Snowmass Village over the next few months.

The Snowmass Arts Advisory Board created a contest for designs of artistic bike racks in honor of the USA Pro Challenge’s first stage, which ran through both Aspen and Snowmass in August, according to a statement. Five proposals by three Colorado artists were selected as winners, and they will receive $4,000 for each design to build the racks and deliver them to locations throughout Snowmass Village.

The contest also was intended to celebrate the increasing popularity of cycling and meet the need for secure bike parking in Snowmass Village, the statement said. The board received 30 submissions from professional and amateur Colorado artists.

One of the criteria was functionality, said Patrick Wasserman, owner of the New Belgium Ranger Station, who participated in the selection process.

“The ones that won, I think, were the ones that both had a good design that was relevant to Snowmass and also that was functional,” Wasserman said.

“Mammoth Skeleton,” by Vaughn Shafer, of Glenwood Springs, will be installed outside the Ranger Station. Shafer is a master blacksmith with a workshop in El Jebel.

“I think it’s both A, really cool and artistic and really fits the theme of Snowmass obviously, but B, I think it’s also going to be a great functional bike rack and also ski rack, too,” Wasserman said of the rack, which looks like a huge rib cage.

Art Burrows, of Aspen, said the two racks he is designing will be durable enough for skis, although they weren’t really designed for that. Burrows submitted three designs, two of which, “The Cyclist” and “Columbian Mammoth,” were awarded the $4,000.

“Every creative’s dream is to have someone assist or fund their creativity,” Burrows said. “I wish that some of the other designs could have been funded, because there were some really great ones.”

Burrows had an advantage, he said, because he’s been building bike racks recently.

“I’ve kind of analyzed, How do you get more bikes in a small space and do it in a highly aesthetic way?” Burrows said. “I always approach the problem from a pragmatic, you know, ‘How do we make it function better but how do we make it really beautiful?’ and try to achieve the best results in both.”

The racks are intended to be used by the public in perpetuity. Burrows’ racks will be made of steel. The lower parts are done, and the upper components are being manufactured now, he said on Sept. 13.

“I’m hoping that we will have something up in Snowmass within three weeks,” he said.

Kamber Sokulsky, of Boulder, also won the contest with her designs “Intersection” and “Aspen Leaves.”

Wasserman said he also liked that some community members were included on selecting the designs. The selection committee included representatives of the Arts Advisory Board, the Town Council and town staff as well as Related Colorado and the Westin Snowmass, which each own a site where a chosen bike rack will be installed.

As of Sept. 11, the town was still determining installation specifications, including with the owners of the two sites, for the racks and setting a time frame for their delivery.