MOAB — A ton weight of art was lifted above the Colorado River and permanently anchored into place on the Colorado River Bike and Pedestrian Bridge, Thursday.
With the recent unanimous vote of the Grand County council, the Colorado River Bike and Pedestrian bridge will be the permanent installation site of a gift of public art to Grand County with “Forces At Play,” four 9-foot sculptures of native sandstone suspended in cold-formed and welded steel, created by Castle Valley artist Michael Ford Dunton.
“It is a deep honor to have these works find a permanent home in the place that inspired their creation,” Dunton said.
That place of creation is the Castle Valley home studio of Michael Ford Dunton and his wife, Christy Williams Dunton, who together founded Moab ArTTrails, the public art program that this installation stands to launch.
Kim Schappert, executive director of Moab Trails Alliance (the fiscal agent of Moab ArTTrails), said, “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we would have the opportunity to install the quality of work we have been presented with by this artist. These pieces, specifically designed for the bridge, are truly representative of the spirit and beauty of the setting.
“The bridge installation is the perfect beginning to the birth of the larger Moab ArTTrails concept, which will attract a new demographic of art followers, as well as enhance the Moab experience for our fellow community members and visitors in a minimally impactful way.”
The artist gifted one of the four pieces, with enthusiastic and generous donors stepping up to gift the remaining pieces in the series, for a total value of $44,000 worth of donated art.
The installation marks the launch of the MoabArTTrails public art program, which, in partnership with civic stakeholders, will increase the public collection with an annual sculptural exhibition to take place in designated areas along Moab’s pathways and urban trails beginning in 2017.
The public is invited to attend an inaugural celebration, artist reception and opening of “Forces at Play” on the Colorado Riverway Bike and Pedestrian Bridge Sunday.
There will be a brief public commencement at 4 p.m. with acknowledgements by the Duntons to all those who helped make the art, the bridge itself and the wider improvements in the NMRAATS trail system a possibility.
At 5 p.m., the public is invited to participate in a “river of light” ceremony at the culmination of Sunday’s celebration at the bridge. Celebrants are encouraged to bring flashlights, battery-powered LEDs, glowsticks and headlamps to create a stream of light crossing the bridge at dusk as the art is illuminated for the first time.
Any photos or videos of the events can be shared with the hashtags #MoArT and #MoArTTrails.
Those who would like to help build this budding art program are encouraged to get involved via the Moab ArTTrails site, where walking shared pathways through the arts and humanities helps build a beautiful bridge between those have come before us and those who share this place beyond our own time.
About the Colorado River Pedestrian Bridge
The bike and pedestrian bridge, constructed in 2008, spans 600 feet over the Colorado River. It provides a safe river crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists. The bridge is part of a project to improve tourist access to trails north of the river, according to Moab Bike Patrol.
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