Off Beat Stories

Sep 6, 2009 10:53 AM by Jamie Smith

Small-town sculpture too risque for some residents

Art can cause some controversy, and that's the case in the Colorado town of Silt. The town has just finished a new intersection with a sculpture centered in the middle. It's not sitting well with everyone in town.

From her window at the Golfer Foods Deli, Carla Rieke has a perfect view of the new attraction. "All day we see it," Rieke said.

At first glance it looks like a giant rock cube, standing about 20 feet high. Take a closer look and you'll see it showcases Colorado wildlife, with what Richard Cordova says is a very wild side. "I thought it would have been better if they would have put pants on it," Cordova said.

Among the deer, elk and a fly fisherman cut into the rock, Silt resident Virginia Depew says there's a rock climber with his backside to traffic - seeming to be scaling nature au natural. "He's climbing a rock naked," Depew said.

When it comes to the piece of work, the town of Silt has been cracked by controversy, split almost right down the middle with those who like it and those who don't. Silt Mayor David Moore says more and more people are calling to say they don't mind seeing a little more of the rock climber. "We first heard from people who don't like it, and then it got rumored, around and then the people who do like it contacted me," Moore said.

Others, like Depew, say they don't mind the statue but find it a little confusing. "I find it annoying in the fact that - who would climb a rock naked? They could get hurt," Depew said.

Whatever end of the argument you sit on, the sculpture is bringing a lot attention to Silt, with news reports, people taking pictures, and cars lapping the intersection for a better view. "We find a lot of people going around and around," Depew said.

As for Rieke, she says her only problem with the piece is that she wants it turned for a better view of that climber. "I don't mind at all," Rieke said.

She says when you work in a deli around buns all day, seeing some on a sculpture at least gives you a little variety. "It would give me something nice to look at all day," Rieke said.

The artist is Blaine Peters, and he was commissioned by the town of Silt to do the sculpture. The town's board members saw a model before approving the final product.

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