Art in Public Places is offering its first free Art Walk of the year this Wednesday, with four additional dates scheduled between now and the end of the winter season.
The Art Walk is a one-hour tour of the Town of Vail’s public art collection in Vail Village, led by Art in Public Places Coordinator Molly Eppard. The town’s collection grows every year, and currently includes over 60 works ranging from sculptures, murals and playground components to site-integrated art.
While the works of art are strategically installed in public sites and available for viewing by all, the Art Walk presents a unique opportunity to learn the history and background behind both the works and the artists who created them.
Eppard has been the coordinator for the Art in Public Places program for over a decade, and shares how the public art collection has grown in tandem with the overall development of the town.
Tour goers will learn about the myriad of ways in which beauty and design have been a focus for the town since the beginning. In addition to the more prominent works of art, Eppard also shares lesser-known efforts to enhance the visual experience of Vail, such as art-commissioned sewer grates and protected view corridors located throughout the village which ensure that certain views of the surrounding environment will never be blocked by future construction projects.
“What’s great is that you get a bit of everything, from the historical works like the 10th Mountain soldier, to the street integrated art,” Eppard said. “Everything from the trash bins, to some of the sewer grates – which were public art commissions – and then talking about the ornamentation and design of some of the older buildings as well.”
February is also an optimal time to join the Art Walk, as it will likely be the last month that the Winterfest ice sculptures are incorporated into the tour.
“What will be fun about this tour is that we will go by the Winterfest ice installations, so the guests will be able to make that direct connection between Olive’s mural at the transportation center to what the Winterfest ice looks like this year,” Eppard said .
Eppard includes around 25 works in the tour, all located in Vail Village, and the tour will start and end at the Vail Transportation Center. In addition to sharing the background behind the art, the tour also goes into the larger history of Vail’s development as a resort and town, as Eppard said that the two histories are inextricable.
“We also discuss a lot of the history of the valley, the founding of the mountain, and really how a lot of the public art plays into that history,” Eppard said. “It’s more than just the public art. It’s about the development of the town and how it all came to be.”
The first Art Walk will take place this Wednesday, Feb. 2, from 11 am to noon. The next tour will take place at the same time on Feb. 16, followed by two dates in March (March 2 and 16) and a final winter date on April 6. Art Walks resume again in the summer season.
Those who are interested in delving into Vail’s public art collection on their own can explore the ART in Vail digital interactive map, which can be found at ArtInVail.com. Over 60 works have been cataloged, with location, image, artist, year and additional information now available online.
The Art Walks are free for all and require no reservation. For more information about the art collection or the tours, visit ArtInVail.com or contact Molly Eppard at firstname.lastname@example.org.