Whether making or enjoying it, art enhances the human experience. Susan Baker, Public Art Ridgway Colorado (PARC) sculpture committee member, knows this. PARC, which has been bringing art to Ridgway for the past decade, “invites, encourages and implements the public display of art to inspire community appreciation of the creative process,” according to its mission statement.
The latest installation is the new “affirmation station” by Denver-based multi-media artist Timothy C. Flood near the children’s section of Hartwell Park.
The piece looks like a crosswalk sign, but when the button is pressed, instead of a lit-up walking symbol, the affirmation station displays words of encouragement like, “You are dazzling” or “You are brilliant,” accompanied by audio. There are over 200 affirmations. So far, people love the new piece, Baker said.
“Anyone can press a button. It’s really a free and open thing,” she added. “ … It’s on all the time. People are pressing the button and starting to laugh. It’s just been a great addition to our community.”
Baker saw a picture of Flood’s affirmation station and thought it would fit nicely with Ridgway’s other public art installations. When she reached out him, Flood was all in and explained that he proposed to his wife while camping near the Ridgway Reservoir, Baker said.
Flood, who couldn’t be reached for an interview before press time Wednesday afternoon, said his work “strive(s) to help bridge the gap between what we believe we know about ourselves and realizing our higher potential as individuals and as a society,” according to his website timothyflood.com.
Other than installation pieces, Flood’s portfolio includes photography, sculpture and site-specific works.
“He just comes up with things that are really positive,” Baker said.
Flood’s affirmation station will be permanent fixture in Ridgway, as PARC will be paying for it over the next eight years, she added.
PARC is also working toward adding more pieces to the children’s section in the park, including wooden animal sculptures. There are already several animal statues in that area, including a tortoise, otter and fawn.
“Kids can sit out there and hug these animals,” Baker said.
Though PARC doesn’t have an operating budget, the group now receives funding from the town, which will create more opportunities to feature artists’ work.
“We just want to bring things to our little village that enhance it,” she said.
Baker, who has owned her own business in town for 30 years, explained that the streetscape project the town undertook and completed over the past couple years, with the help of a $10 million CDOT grant, has beautified the Main Street area. The creation of sidewalks, including artist-rendered benches, and PARC’s work in bringing art to town has made Ridgway unique, she added.
“To have artists come in and not move the history out of the way, I’ve been really proud about how it’s going,” Baker said. “I think there’s an added pride. When you walk around, it’s charming. I think it’s been an added pride.”
Since 2013, Ridgway has been a state-certified Creative District, which means the town is eligible to apply for Colorado Creates grants, as well as being recognized as a place that fosters art. Ridgway is also one of five communities that comprise the Creative Corridor, along with Crested Butte, Paonia, Salida and Carbondale.