Sculpture honoring deceased local artist approved, while other works of art get new homes

A 20 inch unpainted mockup (model) of “She Walks on Water”. The finished sculpture will be painted and can be up to 15 feet tall.
Sandy Graves/Courtesy Photo

To honor the memory of the late local artist Susan Schiesser, a new sculpture has been approved for placement on the lawn of the Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Additionally, two existing works of art will have new homes. The “Cougar” which rests peacefully atop the sandstone wall at the base of the Steamboat Resort will be moved to the Yampa River Core Trail near Dr. Rich Weiss Park.

The “River Run” sculpture which originally stood on Lincoln Avenue and then moved to Ski Town Lions Park, will soon be moved again to a concrete lot in West Lincoln Park near Sulfur Spring.

Schiesser’s friends and family commissioned Sandy Graves to create a new “She Walks on Water” sculpture, in honor of a cherished painting Shiesser had done of a bear with a pair of wings. Graves typically works with bronze, but due to the sculpture’s proximity to the sulfur-rich spring near the library, she will use aluminum and steel instead. According to Graves, this will be her first time working with aluminum.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun for me because it takes me in a new direction,” said Graves, who knew Schiesser personally and respected his art style. “Susan’s art was contemporary in pushing the boundaries of color and design.”

“So what we’re going to be able to bring by mixing our styles is something really unique in the world,” Graves added.

While still in its infancy, “She Walks on Water” can stand as tall as 15 feet, with a base of six feet and a wingspan of 10 feet. In 2021, when the coin was initially conceptualized, its value was estimated at $100,000.

The City of Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission approved at its Wednesday, June 8 meeting the acceptance of “She Walks on Water” into the city’s public art collection and approved the placement sculpture in the aspen grove near the library. The city does not pay for the art or ongoing maintenance, as these costs will be covered by those who donate the work.

Now that the city has given official approval, Graves says she’ll likely be working on the sculpture over the next year or maybe even longer.

The Parks and Recreation Board also unanimously approved a request to move the “Cougar” sculpture from the ski resort to a space along the main trail.

According to the commission, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. felt that the big cat carving did not fit the resort’s country-western design and was frequently bumped and scraped by skis.

The “Cougar” sculpture at the foot of the Steamboat Springs ski area will soon be relocated to the Yampa River Core Trail near Dr. Rich Weiss Park.
Kim Keith/Courtesy Photo

The “Cougar” was jointly funded by the city and Steamboat Creates.

Steamboat Creates is handling ongoing maintenance and the “Cougar” has recently undergone a restoration. Steamboat Creates will also build a sandstone pad at the new location along the Core Trail, on which the “Cougar” will soon bask in the sun, hopefully without surprising passing joggers.

“A cougar is going to stare at you,” said Craig Robinson, parks, open spaces and trails manager.

The “Cougar” is a bronze sculpture made by a Loveland artist named Rosetta. In 2017, Rosetta’s sculpture was estimated at around $30,000.

“River Run,” the other out-of-place public artwork, is a wavy blue sculpture that doubles as a functional bench. When it was originally installed on Lincoln Avenue, it also served as a concave surface on which riders could slide and skate, or perhaps even grind if they had the skill.

“River Run” is a sculpture and bench that has already been moved twice, but hopefully will have a permanent home by the river in West Lincoln Park.
Town of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy Photo

Due to damage from skateboards, the sculpture and bench were moved to Ski Town Lions Park, where they were damaged by tree sap.

Once “River Run” is renovated, it will be moved near the river to West Lincoln Park. The city will pour a concrete slab under the sculpture which will be separated from the sidewalk to deter skateboarders.

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