Sleeping Giant works feature local and Colorado artists

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Three local artists Jill Bergman, Jennifer Baker and Sandi Poltorak collaborated to create a 46-foot mural for one of the walls of the new Sleeping Giant school. (Courtesy photo)

When the doors to the new Sleeping Giant School open next week, students and teachers will be greeted with a variety of new artwork from local and Colorado artists. A triptych, a set of sculptures and a large-scale mural by three different artists adorn the halls of the new school.

Denver design firm NINE dot ARTS was hired to curate the school’s art.

“We wanted art that would connect with Steamboat and reflect the region, its history and its surroundings,” said Superintendent Brad Meeks. “It was important to present local artists as well as artists able to recognize and respect our region. “



A series of three prints created by Colorado artist Ashley Stiles features Native American images. Although Stiles is not from the Ute tribe herself, she does have a Native American heritage, and Meeks noted that she did a lot of research to accurately represent this aspect of Steamboat’s heritage. Her work is meticulously hand painted and includes a few additions of pasted paper to add texture in places.

A second Colorado artist, Joe Norman, based in Loveland, created a series of three sculptures depicting either a child or a sandhill crane, depending on how the sculpture is viewed.



“On one side, the sculpture looks like three cranes, and when you rotate it 90 degrees, it looks like three children,” Norman explained. “I wanted to create a room that reflects both children, for the school, and sandhill cranes, since the school is being built near one of their nesting sites.”

The company also sent out a Request for Proposals, or RFP, to local artists with the goal of creating a mural on one of the school walls. Three artists from the Pine Moon Gallery – Jennifer Baker, Jill Bergman and Sandi Poltorak – have teamed up to submit an idea. It took many brainstorming sessions to discuss how to make their three different mediums work – Baker works with glass, Bergman is a painter, and Poltorak draws in pencil and charcoal – but ultimately they were commissioned to create a 46 foot fresco for a large hallway. .

The new Sleeping Giant School mural incorporates scenes from the Yampa Valley, including landscapes and native species, created with the preferred medium of artists Jill Bergman, Jennifer Baker and Sandi Poltorak. (Courtesy photo)

The RFP called for specific elements in the mural, such as a depiction of Sleeping Giant, the top of the mountain for which the school is named, as well as a depiction of the Ute tribe. And although all three artists originally submitted a proposal for a 6-foot space, the end result was a 46-foot piece of art incorporating each artist.

“Going from 6 feet to 46 feet was a bigger project, but we all wanted to do it for the school and for the kids,” Baker said. “It was something that was really cool to be a part of. We all had great ideas, and it was a real collaboration.

Bergman, who created the “Yampa is Wild” mural in downtown Steamboat Springs, began the process with a landscape painting that she drew and painted on polytab panels, which were then hung on the wall. like wallpaper. Encouraged to reflect on the history of the area and the Ute tribe, Bergman incorporated bison and other wildlife into the summer landscape which also features Sleeping Giant.

For his part, Poltorak made four black and white pencil drawings, framed in glass, which fit over the mural. Baker then added 200 pieces of wildflower and animal glass to the mural to finalize the three-dimensional work.

“Already, the building is doing a great job of pulling the outside in,” Bergman said. “There are elements of nature inside and the mural really ties it all together. Being inside a building all day can be tiring, but being able to move the outside around inside the building is relaxing. It resets you and allows you to be open to learning new things.

Baker said that while she hopes the mural inspires the students, it’s equally important that they recognize the concept of teamwork that went into the creation of the work.

“This mural was done by three completely different artists, and out of respect, cooperation and teamwork we were able to put all of our creative ideas together to create the mural,” said Baker.

The three knew from the start that they wanted to get involved in what they called a “historical project”.

“The new school is an important part of Steamboat’s expansion, and the three of us wanted to be a part of this historic building,” said Poltorak. “I haven’t seen anything like this mural anywhere else – combining glass and drawings on a mural… I hope people will be inspired. And most of all, I hope it will make the children smile.

The public will have the chance to view the works of art during a grand opening ceremony and dedication ceremony at 4 p.m. Monday at the new Sleeping Giant School, which will serve students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. year on the west side of Steamboat.

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