Artist: Ira Houseweart
Location: Northwest Corner of Elk Avenue and 6th St. at the 4-Way Stop
Medium: Metal, Paint
Crested Butte was officially certified as a Creative District in the summer of 2016, joining seventeen other districts in the state of Colorado. Part of the purpose of a Creative District designation is to ‘enhance areas as appealing places to live and conduct business’, as well as ‘promote a community’s unique identity’. In 2018, when the Creative District Commission was searching for a unique piece of public art to accent the sign that proudly proclaimed Crested Butte’s new designation, Ira Houseweart’s design seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
Three seven-foot columbines sprout from the base of the sign. Each metal flower took about a day to create, as they were first cut with a plasma torch, and then forged until Ira could bend and shape them. After welding the pieces together, they were painted in the purple and white of our state’s official flower, though the artist’s vision is for them to eventually rust and change with time. Their organic forms beckon, an appreciated sight in all seasons; and certainly a fitting welcome to all those entering the ‘Wildflower Capital of Colorado’.
More of Ira Houseweart’s work can be seen throughout the Town, as he also created three different designs for the numerous brackets that hold the Town’s wayfinding signs. Ira began metalworking as a teen in his grandad’s shop, and never really stopped! Other ornamental and functional pieces can be seen at his website www.coloradoblacksmith.com.