The HeART of Lyons- Community Inspired Art
Article appeared in the September Issue of the Redstone Review
The Lyons Clarifier Art project is perhaps, one of the best and most compelling symbols of the spirit of the artistic community in Lyons. The project, which took more than 11 years to complete, tells a great story of creativity, community collaboration and perseverance.
If you’ve never visited the clarifier and taken in mosaic brilliance and captivating visual storytelling, it’s worth a trip. The landscaping and access to the clarifier are awaiting completion due to flood/river restoration work in this area just past the water treatment plant by the black bear hole. The fact that the clarifier exists at all and survived the flood is miraculous. Flood waters surrounded the old concrete treatment tank but incredibly did not destroy it. The mosaic itself was actually completed in 2015, incorporating the ‘high water’ marks left in the flood path. Local artists, school children, seniors, church goers, stone and landscaping companies and many many more artists and citizens collaborated with the projects leaders Cathy Rivers, Priscilla Cohan, Kristine Smock, Candace Shepard, and Shelly Gottshamer who initiated the projects and helped see it through. The Lyons Community Foundation funded the project over this period in annual grants to the tune of more than $16,000.
In fact, the art community has been a major focus of LCF Community Support Grants in the decade of the foundations’ existence. Its annual granting cycle has awarded more than $50,000 to a variety of groups in town that support and promote local artists of many genres.
The Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission plays a key role in representing and nurturing these efforts. More than $22,250 in grants during the decade-long relationship with LCF has allowed for such popular events as the Lyons Art Walk and its various iterations. The commissioned sculptures installed throughout downtown are also a very tangible and iconic example of our love for public art expression. These pieces are temporary installations for which artists are paid a stipend to loan the work to the Town of Lyons for a period of generally two years. This makes the art affordable for the Town to “borrow”. LAHC is currently working to bring at least 10 new pieces in the coming year, complete with identification placards and ample mounting blocks or pedestals. Under consideration is the development of a contribution program where pieces determined to be beloved by the people of Lyons could perhaps be ultimately purchased by the community for permanent display in town.
The LAHC in addition to the heARTS of Lyons collection of outdoor art, also co-hosts Arts on the River / Sounds of Lyons with the Boulder County Arts Alliance, coordinates quarterly Town Hall Art Shows with Community Tapas Potlucks and local musicians at their openings, has been instrumental in the still-evolving Lyons Last Thursday Arts Strolls/Lyons Arts Walk Weekends, and is always eager to both physically and financially assist (when possible) artists and arts endeavors such as the Lyons Film Festival, Lyons Old-Time Square Dances and sponsoring LAHC representation at events such as the annual Colorado Creative Industries Summit.
The Sounds of Lyons (SOL), an organization that presents world class musical experiences to the people of Lyons was also helped to thrive with Lyons Community Foundation’s financial assistance. Since its inception in 2009, SOL has partnered with LCF along with other groups such as the LAHC, Mayama dance studio and High Street Concerts to bring a music festival to town that is rich in creativity and expression. With director, founder and accomplished classical violinist MinTze Wu recently moving back to the area, we look forward to the continuation of this incredible musical experience.
The Community Foundation has also funded other such popular events as the Town Of Lyons Summer Concert Series. With more than $18,000 in the past decade, the Town has been able to bring free concerts to Sandstone Park, now for 10 weeks in the summer months. The concerts are a great community event; they feature local musicians as well other businesses selling food and other amenities.
The Lyons Film Festival, running its 3rd season this June was helped off the ground with an LCF grant in 2014. Annual support has allowed for this unique and alternative outlet for artistic creativity and expression in film to continue.
With the abundance of talent and passion for everything from visual arts, music of diverse genres, public installations and a vibrant artisan culture, the Lyons Community Foundation has been proud to nurture the area’s artistic community. As part of our mission to enhance life in Lyons, we will continue to support these types of projects. Stay tuned for more information on our 10th Anniversary Celebration which will be held at Lionscrest Manor on November 10th. The work of Community Support Granting will not continue without the continued support of Lyons area residents. For more information about volunteering, donating or applying for a grant, please visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.lyonscf.org.
More information on:
The Clarifier Project: clarifierproject.net
The Sounds of Lyons: soundsoflyons.com
Lyons Arts and Humanities Commission or Sandstone Summer Concert Series: www.townoflyons.com
Lyons Film Festival: lyonsfilmfestival.com
Lyons Community Foundation