Giving voice to art

There’s no denying Breckenridge is rich in public art—from the stalwart bronze sculpture of Civil Rights leader Barney L. Ford downtown, to the whimsical steel and stone bridge over a waterway at the town’s north end, to the abstract sculpture of rocks and weathered steel that reaches for the sky at the ice arena.

In total there are 31 pieces of public art in the Breckenridge collection, amassed over more than 20 years, and each with its own story to tell. Now, Breckenridge Creative Arts (BCA) makes those stories accessible to all with the release of its new Breckenridge Public Art + Arts District Audio Tour, hosted on the mobile app CultureSpots at https://spts.us/bca.

The app contains three self-guided walking tour routes—Public Art Downtown, Public Art North and East, and the Breckenridge Arts District campus and nearby cultural venues—accessed by typing the URL into a web browser on your mobile device. In addition, a printed map showing walking routes and numbered stops is available at Old Masonic Hall and the Breckenridge Welcome Center. Each stop includes the story of a given artwork or studio, voiced by a local community leader, along with photographs and written information.

Local Public Art Advisory Committee member Janis Bunchman came up with the idea after taking part in a similar audio tour at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Fine Art at Utah State University.

“It’s very user-friendly, and free, so we are hoping people will take advantage of it,” said Becca Spiro, BCA’s director of learning and innovation, who spearheaded the project.

Spiro is also retooling BCA’s docent-led “Art Around Town” walking tours, which will be offered from May to October at 3:30 p.m. Fridays and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays. Each of the new family-friendly tours includes five to seven artworks and is organized thematically with titles like “Skiing: History, Folklore, and Art” and “Human Connection and Harmony with Nature.” The tours will be led by local docents selected from a pool of applicants who complete a series of classes taught by Spiro.

“As our collection continues to grow, this is a good time to stop and take note of what our current collection has to offer, and the rich history behind each piece,” Spiro said.

At the same time, she hopes viewers will come to understand that these are not standalone artworks sprinkled randomly throughout town. Rather, they combine to tell a collective story of the generations who have come to call this land home—from the earliest native inhabitants to the miners and skiers who followed; from nature-lovers and adventure-seekers to artists, musicians, and dreamers—all gathered under the shadow of the majestic Ten Mile Range to appreciate what the high country has to offer.


Breckenridge Public Art + Arts District Audio Tour // spts.us/bca

Photo: Liam Doran