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Bus shelters to get art etchings

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Other art projects in the works, as well

By Jennifer Garcia

The wheels of change keep turning for Los Alamos County and the Arts in Public Places Board has been a part of the many changes around the county so far. They also continue to make strides to beautify the town.

In addition to purchasing pottery for the City of Santa Fe, as a gift for its 400th anniversary, the APP Board has been busy with various other local projects.

One project has been ongoing since the spring but seems to finally be coming to fruition. Back in March, the APP Board put out a call to artists, hoping to attract some that would be interested in having their work etched on the bus shelters around town.

The March call for artists was the second to be put out. In the fall of 2008, the first call had gone out, however only two proposals were received at that time. The second call however was a bit more successful. The board received 8-10 proposals, according to Board Liaison Stephani Johnson. “We had several submittals from the Dobbins Studios in Santa Fe,” Johnson said at the time. “They did the etching on the glass at the gallery in the library.”

While it seemed the Dobbins Studios might have been chosen to do the work, plans for the bus shelters took a slightly different turn. None of the proposals received in the spring were chosen. Instead, two artists received approval to start the etching on the bus shelters. One of the artists is Shirley Venus, who has done a computer rendering of something for the golf course. The second artist is Frank Harlow, who will etch something relating to pottery, which will eventually be etched on the bus shelter in front of the library, according to Johnson.

“We went back out and contacted artists that the board members knew,” Johnson said. “Board Member Paula Barclay has been heading up that project.”

Johnson said that each artist will receive $500 for their artwork, however Harlow has told the board that he does not want any compensation for what he is doing. “The board decided that he could donate his money to a charity of his choice if he wanted to,” Johnson said.

Johnson also said that the council still needs to approve these recommendations for the bus shelters. “We won’t be able to get approval from council until after the first of the year,” she said.

In other art news, the board has recommended approval of some artwork for the Eco Station. County council approved the recommendations during its Nov. 17 council meeting. “We will be working with a local artist by the name of Bob Davis,” Johnson commented.  

In addition, another contract with Susanne Vertel will go to council in the near future. Vertel will construct a sculpture of General Leslie Groves. “She has already completed the one (sculpture) of Oppenheimer and they will be placed together at a site that will be recommended to council by the Historic Sculptures Master Plan Committee,” Johnson said.

 The “Strange Trio” sculpture may soon have a new home, as well. The APP Board has asked Parks Division Manager Dick McIntyre to make a recommendation for where the sculpture could be placed in Overlook Park. McIntyre is planning to have his recommendation ready for the next board meeting on Dec. 9. The sculpture used to be located near the old municipal building near Ashley Pond, however, it’s currently in storage, awaiting placement.

The skate park received a new addition recently, as well. A Maru Fountain was installed at the park about a month ago, at a cost of $5,800.

“I feel the APP Board has taken some leadership in the past couple years and are trying to spend money they have carefully and wisely,” Johnson said.