Courtesy of Creative Alliance Manitou Springss
Artists from Manitou Springs and nearly 2,000 miles away in Florida have been chosen as winners of cash prizes totaling $4,000 for their new 2022 installations in Manitou’s Art on the Avenue program for the city’s sesquicentennial celebration.
Local artists K8E Orr and Joel Newmiller won the Community Choice award of $1,500 from
for “The Dance of TAVA” mural installation on the west side of the Hiawatha Gardens building.
Flaminio Antonio, a renowned sculptor from Ocala, Fla., won the $2,500 CRANE Artistic Excellence Award for “Comforting Melody,” a guitar crafted from scrap metal. It’s in front of the Armadillo Ranch restaurant and music venue at 962 Manitou Ave.
“This year is special because we doubled the typical number of new annual visiting ‘Art on the Avenue’ public art installations from four to eight,” CRANE Executive Director Becca Sickbert said. “That involved an amazing amount of work by a lot of people, including staff from the city of Manitou Springs.”
The prizes and Art on the Avenue are funded in part by grants from the Manitou Arts, Culture, and Heritage (MACH) initiative and from Colorado Creative Industries. CRANE, which oversees the city’s public art as part of its mission, formed a year ago in a merger of the Manitou Springs Creative District and the Manitou Springs Arts Council.
The Community Choice honor was selected by 207 local responses in a randomized online ballot. Voters picked their favorite from the eight new installations CRANE added in 2022.
The mural by Orr and Newmiller won the Manitou Springs community’s choice for being the most uplifting artwork by honoring the history of indigenous nations in the region and the building itself.
As Orr and Newmiller described their work, the mural “depicts a place where two worlds meet, a tango with the indigenous past, present, and future, and the dance hall that was once considered the heart and soul of Manitou Springs.
“The sign, ‘Where Dancing is Entrancing,’ and thematic layout were adapted from a 1921 postcard (artist unknown) belonging to the collection of local historian Deborah Harrison, capturing a snapshot of this historic building from that period. Manitou’s strong artistic and musical traditions continue to this day.”
Antonio’s stunning “Comforting Melody” immediately has become one of Art on the Avenue’s more visible pieces. The CRANE Public Art Committee chose it for the Artistic Excellence honor after an extensive evaluation process of all the 2022 installations. The award recognizes work ranking highest for visual impact, craftsmanship, emotional impact and thought-provoking qualities.
“The committee loved the presence, placement and overall construction of ‘Comforting Melody’,” Sickbert said. “The work is not only striking from blocks away, it captures people’s imagination and stops families in their tracks as they walk by and see it up close.”
Antonio, a native of Colombia, has numerous metal sculptures on display in cities across Florida.
“I’m privileged to have a sculpture on exhibition in Manitou Springs,” Antonio said recently in a Facebook post.
For more information: manitouspringscd.org/art.