The 14th annual Green Box Arts Festival has opened, giving visitors of all ages the opportunity to explore their own creativity and that of others.
On Friday, June 17, local media representatives were given a sneak preview of the large-scale art installations in Green Mountain Falls and overlooking the town. First stop: “Communication X9” at the corner of Ute Pass Avenue and Mountain Road.
The 43-foot-tall, three-sided tower, created by Israeli artist Jaacov Agam in 1983, spent decades on display in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile before being trucked to Colorado on a 40-foot-long semitractor-trailer.
“Communication X9” had stood in front of a building that was being reconfigured and it would no longer fit, festival Executive Director Scott RC Levy said. He and two colleagues went to Chicago and looked at it in storage.
“We immediately fell in love with it. And spent the better part of the winter and the spring figuring out how to get it here,” Levy said.
As viewers move around the tower, the colors they see will change, like a lenticular painting that changes in appearance depending on the angle the viewer sess.
“We think it looks better with the reflection of the pine trees in this environment and the sky, as opposed to the urban jungle of downtown Chicago,” he said.
The sculpture had to be thoroughly cleaned after years in a busy city and the welds inspected.
Levy also hosted the viewing of “Meltwater,” Michael Krondl’s site-specific billboard-sized installation on Lake Street, just north of Gazebo Lake. As he explained, the piece used a new technique that the Czech-born, New York-based artist has developed.
“In the earlier part of the spring, he took photographs of natural assets, both here in Green Mountain Falls and throughout the region. Then on the computer, he took pieces of each of those photos to combine into this one. Then he took a projector and put that image on the wall. And he drew it,” Levy said.
The finished drawing was photographed and printed, then installed June 16.
The tour went on to the Keith Haring Outdoor Fitness Court® in Pool Park, near where Ute Pass Avenue curves north and turns into Green Mountain Falls Road. The fitness court is not part of the Green Box Arts Festival, but GBAF co-founder Christian Keesee is chairman of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, which gave a $200,000 grant for the project.
“It is artistic and in nature, which speaks to our mission, so it’s a nice thing to include,” said Rachel Shortt, Green Box marketing director.
The Historic Green Mountain Falls Foundation and the Kirkpatrick Family Fund have set aside funding to maintain the fitness court, according to Jesse Stroope, GBAF director of production and operations.
The facility is free to use and visitors can download a free app that leads them through the workout stations. Green Mountain Falls has not had cellphone service, so the town added a WiFi station at the nearby pool.
The tour’s grand finale was the Green Mountain Falls Skyspace by James Turrell. This is Colorado’s first Skyspace and the only one he has designed for a mountainside; the 78-year-old Californian has created more than 85 installations around the world.
The 18-foot-tall interior has an 8-foot-square retractable opening in the roof. All materials inside, including the stone flooring from a Cañon City quarry and beetle-kill wood for the benches, were locally sourced.
GBAF operations manager Sean Ives supervised the construction and hosted the tour stop. Visitors are asked to remove their shoes to protect the floor and silence their phones so everyone can focus on the silence and the changing colors projected on the ceiling.
It’s a bit of a hike through the new Red Butte Recreation Area to get to the Skyspace, but the experience is definitely worth it.
“Green Mountain Falls provides visitors with the opportunity to slow down and experience something truly unexpected and unlike anything else,” Keesee said in a press release.
“The James Turrell Skyspace will add to the already inspirational setting and community that brings together art and nature, family and friends, earth and sky.”