Sculpture picked as winner of Broomfield’s Choice Award evokes joy
Posted: 07/26/2012 12:00:00 AM MDT
The joyful attitude of Sutton Betti’s “Green Thumb” sculpture has captured art lovers’ attention since it was installed as part of an art-on-loan program in Broomfield. Now the artist has won Art For Awhile’s Broomfield’s Choice Award for creating the statue of the elf with the wide grin.
Betti will receive a $1,000 award for his popular sculpture, which sits near the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library. Members of the public named it their favorite of eight sculptures installed throughout the Broomfield Civic Center area and the 1stBank Center promenade.
“Green Thumb” features an elf-like figure celebrating as he discovers a tiny plant growing at his feet. Lynn Jeffers, chairwoman of Broomfield’s public art committee, said voters liked the whimsical, light-hearted image.
“People wrote about how happy it made them and how they wanted to feel like that all the time,” she said.
“Green Thumb” and seven other sculptures are part of the Art For Awhile program. The art-on-loan program features rotating artists who offer everything from patriotic tributes to firefighters to celebrations of the environment to abstract, geometric works.
Art For Awhile has been around since 2009, but this is the first year the program has featured the Broomfield’s Choice Award. Residents were encouraged to visit all the sculpture sites and vote for their favorite.
More than 100 people voted, “which is pretty good for our first year,” said Cultural Affairs Manager Karen Gerrity.
Betti, the first Broomfield’s Choice Award winner, was honored at the final Wednesdays on the Waterfront show at the Broomfield Amphitheater.
Betti’s sculptures are inspired by what he describes as “a stew of art forms,” including illustration from the early to mid 20th century, classical music, the Beatles and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.
His family is made up of other artists and musicians, according to his website.
“You can see a lot of Sutton’s personality in the piece… you can really tell he had his heart in this one,” Jeffers said.
Jeffers said Betti’s sculpture complements the other Art For Awhile pieces, which are varied in style and expression. The collection will be up until October, when a new round of public art will be installed.
“All of our pieces are exceptional in their own ways,” she said. “Maybe people really appreciate modern or abstract work, maybe something deeply sentimental. We have a mix.”
Art For Awhile began as a thrifty way to brighten the city with public art, Gerrity said. Instead of investing in full-blown, permanent city art, a smaller amount of money went to sculpture “pads” that allowed a rotating display of art from around the country. Borrowed sculptures could be affixed to the pads for a certain amount of time, then replaced with newly borrowed pieces.
Organizers plan to continue Art For Awhile and the Broomfield’s Choice Award next year. Funding for the award comes from the Public Art Committee’s budget, and 20 percent of proceeds from the sale of the art also goes into the award fund as an honorarium for the winning artist. The award is also a way to attract quality work from around the country.
“We just want people to look at the art and say, ‘Hey, that’s pretty cool.’ That’s what public art is about,” Jeffers said.