Basalt Public Arts Commission (BPAC)

Frequently Asked Questions

How will public art create income or jobs for the mid valley?

National arts advocacy agency Americans for the Arts has found that nationwide, an average cultural event attendee spends $24.60 per event, not including the cost of admission. This is money spent from hiring a baby sitter, to buying gas to get to the event, to people going out to other businesses for dinner or shopping after the event, etc. The arts are a proven method of building business in towns everywhere.


What is the expected return on investment?

BPAC is funded by the Basalt Town Council through the annual budget process. Much of BPAC’s future funding is anticipated to be provided by tax dollars through the “1% for Art” legislation which is national, statewide, and now local. Basalt Town Council voted in 2015 to designate 1% of all qualifying capital town improvements to place public art, free & available to everyone to raise our quality of life and add to Basalt’s cultural economy.  This is an investment that will return far more than what we can endeavor by simply being here in the mountains.  Did you know that a work of art increases activity five times more than a simple bench located in the same place?


How much does this program cost? 

We have calculated that the Mōtiō 2.0 exhibition of two years will cost each Basalt resident 1.7 cents/day, paid for through a real estate transfer fund. What we can share collectively as a town is far more than what we can share by ourselves.


Basalt has never had a public arts program, why now?

Basalt is growing up!  Once considered a bedroom community for Aspen, this town is becoming its own destination and attracting people for the right reasons. Culture is one of the highest rated reasons for visiting or moving a business to a town. We show who we are as a town through the arts, and the public arts are the most easily accessed, night or day, available to all.


What is a public art commission?

We are a group of citizens asked by the Basalt Town Council to develop a public art program to help build an arts economy and for the greater good of all residents in Basalt!


What is the difference between a 501c3 non-profit organization and a commission?

A 501c3 is a business type organization created by the IRS Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are considered public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations. It is regulated and administered by the US Department of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service. Citizens have the option to contribute to these organizations or share in their mission.


A commission, such as BPAC, is an extension arm of the local municipality to help that municipal government improve the common good.  In Basalt’s case, BPAC is comprised of citizens chosen & invited by the Basalt Town Council to research and advise them on a specific topic, which in our case, is public art.  BPAC serves its mission as long as the Basalt Town Council requests it. All citizens share the benefits of our endeavor equally no matter their income status as tax payers. 


How can other citizens comment on BPAC and public art in Basalt?

We welcome all feedback sent here through our website.  


Why didn't we feature a Basalt based artist?

We invited all Basalt-based artists to apply for this public art commission in a state-wide Colorado “call for entry”.  This call was publicized on-line through CaFE (a very well-known organization servicing artists and organizations), in local newspapers and email blasts.  Basalt artists competed equally with only Colorado-based artists.  Wynn Earl Buzzell, Jr., from Denver, won this commission based on his past high-quality art, his concept which answered our needs and his ability to address maintenance, ADA & safety requirements for public safety.


With five available locations, why couldn't there been other talented artists in the Town to feature? 

Basalt is at a confluence of growth as a town.  For our first project, we were looking for artwork that is visually connected but unique in each sculpture.  We feel that Mōtiō 2.0 conceptually parallels our diverse residents from diverse corners of town in an experience that connects us to our being one town, together, now. In our future projects, we may invite five individual artists or reflect another character attribute of the town needing a voice.  We are not limited to the five locations selected for this effort.


Are there other considerations in picking Mōtiō 2.0 for this installation?

We hoped to find an artist who would be known around Colorado. Mōtiō 2.0 will draw visitors from seeing Mōtiō 1, its first incarnation, at the Denver Art Museum last summer. Mōtiō 1 was in one 100 ft. long snake-like part last summer.  Wynn’s concept of repurposing the original sculpture to become something new attracted us.  “Repurposing” established artworks suits Basalt’s environmental commitment very well. Mōtiō 2.0 builds on the original, now broken into five large individual sculptures to reflect Basalt. It is repainted and renewed to fit our unity & connection theme!  Art lovers will travel to see the new version before Mōtiō 2.0 moves on to its 3.0, 4.0 or however many more versions are in its life.  Basalt will be an ongoing part of its DNA in this art journey.


Why are we leasing public art instead of buying?

1.   We didn’t want to commit Basalt residents, who have never had a public art program, to anything permanent until we establish a voice within the community and hear feedback. Basalt is, once again, at a confluence of change.  We want to change with the town at this time.


2.  We wanted to get more for our money!  Permanent public art is expensive requiring ongoing maintenance and preservation. Also, we set up our “call for entry” that the artist would be able to take their installation back with them at the end of the exhibition.  We see this idea as “seed” funding artist’s new ideas, encouraging them to put more into our project as they will get it all back.  Wynn’s idea couldn’t have given us more for our money.  As he had been commissioned by the Denver Art Museum last summer, there was a resulting huge sculpture, Mōtiō, already made which could be repurposed to meet the conceptual needs for Basalt. It is an opportunity for him to expand Mōtiō’s vision and for us to exhibit a much larger exhibition than our budget alone would have funded.


Can kids play on or around the sculpture?

Kids, as well as adults, can sit on the bench sculpture, walk under the arch sculpture and touch each sculpture, moving around them all easily. These sculptures are made of durable aluminum however, they are not designed as play equipment.  Please don’t mistreat them by striking them with hard objects or jumping on them.  They are meant for enjoyment for all. So enjoy! 


How often will the installations change?

Confluence 3 is a program developed by BPAC, comprised of 3 temporary sculptural installations. Each installation will be exhibited for two years, over the next six years.  Mōtiō 2.0 is the first and will be exhibited from June 2017 - May, 2019.


Isn't two years too long for one installation?

Many public art organizations have found that residents & visitors experience public art over time. They have the chance to reflect on what they see, ask questions, see the same works in different seasons and times of day for a fuller experience. There becomes a familial “call & response” that can only be established over time. Art that some don’t like in the beginning become old friends that are precious, only having lived with them over time. It’s also important that kids get the time to ride their bikes to each sculpture over the large distance between them, participate in school projects which visit these artworks and have the chance to draw them or make sculptures themselves all inspired by the presence of these installations over two years. How many times have residents missed cultural events because they were too busy? We don’t want that to happen again.

Basalt Public Art Commission (BPAC) — A Confluence of Art and Vitality

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