MONTE VISTA - Although March may feel like a long ways off, the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce is already putting together exciting new plans for the annual Monte Vista Crane Festival. Ken Hamko came before Monte Vista City Council at their last meeting to present information on the Chamber’s new event.
They are putting together a public art exhibit which they are calling “The Swoop of the Cranes.” The exhibit will feature crane silhouettes made out of 12gauge metal, which will each be uniquely designed by local artists. The silhouettes will be put up on Monte Vista’s light poles and people will be able to stroll through the city and look at all the beautiful creations.
Hamko told the council that the concept for such exhibits originated in Zurich, Switzerland where they had a public art exhibit featuring lions. Since then many other cities all over the world have done similar exhibits with great success. In Santa Fe they have what is called the “Trail of Painted Ponies.” The third year that Santa Fe held the event they had over a hundred horses on their streets painted by local artists. Another similar art exhibit is the “CowParade,” which is the world’s largest public art event. With over 80 countries hosting CowParade events.
“We quickly decided that the crane should be our focus, and that we needed to reduce the price so that people could participate in the event,” Hamko told the council. Hamko explained that the costs of the fiberglass animals used in other cities’ exhibits are well over $6,000 apiece. “What we’ve done is we’ve created a five foot silhouette of cranes out of 12 gauge metal. We hope to get sponsors for the silhouettes,” said Hamko. Hamko told the council that each silhouette would cost $150. Whomever sponsors the silhouette can choose an artist to design their cranes. “The silhouettes were designed at a nominal amount so that we can hopefully get a lot of participation. Our goal is to create an attraction for March during the crane festival. We’ll be working on it up through March,” said Hamko. They plan to mount the cranes on light poles up and down Main Street, on 1st Avenue, and between Madison and Broadway. With each crane there will also be a small brass plaque with the sponsor’s name on it and the name of the artist.
“When people drive through town, they’ll see all these cranes on the poles and hopefully they’ll stop and walk through them and take a look,” said Hamko. The event will also feature a contest, with a people’s choice award. Viewers will be able to go and vote for their favorite crane on the Chamber’s website. There will also be two judges who are involved in the local art community deciding which cranes are awarded second and third place.
“The art we hope will remain on display throughout the summer so that all the people coming through town will be able to stop and take a look. Then in September we’d like to organize an auction where the sponsors could buy back their art if they want it. They could put it in their shop, or leave it out, or whatever they want to do with it. Or other people can buy them,” Hamko told the council. The money collected from the auction they will put into a beautification fund for downtown Monte Vista.
Hamko told the council that they hope to have great turn out for this event and that they have already had great interest shown. They hope it will be great addition to the crane festival which has brought people from as far as Europe to Monte Vista in years past. City council showed great interest and approval of the project.