Big boots brighten Broadway

AE Boots on Broadway1 SM 6-23-07

One hundred fifty hours is a long time to spend in your garage gluing broken shards of tiles and pottery to a 6-foot boot. Ask Lana Caldarola. The Eagle Ranch resident is one of 12 local artists who donated their time and talent to decorate the boot sculptures for Boots on Broadway. The towering cowboy boots line Broadway in Eagle through Aug. 1, when theyll be moved to the Eagle County Fairgrounds for the annual county fair and rodeo.Caldarolas boot the only one that features the mosaic technique pictures a cowgirl wielding a lasso over her head. Mosaics are basically painting with tile. Its pretty hard, especially on a 6-foot boot, Caldarola said.The boot definitely has her blood, sweat and tears in it literally, she said. About two-thirds of the way through the project, the boot toppled. Caldarola, or more precisely her thumb, knee and foot, kept it from crashing to the ground, but the sharp pottery shards cut her thumb. I just got the stitches out, she said.There is a positive side to the mishap, she said. The neighborhood kids, already curious about the giant boot in her garage, pitched in all the more. Her 7-year-old son, Tanner, helped glue some of the pieces on, and Teagan and Rice Mercer, the boys from next door, hammered the colorful tiles into smaller pieces and arranged the chunks by color for her.

As happens with most good ideas, Holli Snyder, director of NRC Broadcasting, came up with the idea for the street-art exhibit over a glass of wine. Shed been discussing how to promote downtown Eagle and the new streetscape which debuted this past weekend with the boots and Eagle Flight Days with Tim Cochran, of the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce. Her initial idea was to have painted sheep, pigs and cows marching down Broadway toward the fairgrounds, she said, but that was nixed when she learned how difficult and expensive it would be to order the differently shaped animals.I thought the boots would be a good take on Eagles heritage and also tie in downtown with the fair and rodeo, Snyder said. On Aug. 3, the boots will be auctioned off in conjunction with the fair and rodeos PRCA rodeo. Part of the proceeds from the auction will go toward creating an art scholarship at Eagle Valley High School (students from the Advanced Placement art class painted one of the boots). The rest of the money raised will be split between the Shaw Cancer Center and the Vail Valley Community Fund, Snyder said.

When artist Amy Dose heard about the boot project from Snyder, an image immediately came to her, she said.The first thing that came to mind was There was an old lady that lived in a shoe, she said.Doses boot is one of the only ones that doesnt have any strong Western art elements there arent any spurs, flames or cowboys. Instead, the boot, which Dose calls mixed media and which features some collage-style elements, is a house of sorts, with windows lining the sides of the boot and small characters peeking out. At the bottom, a girl wearing an orange dress flies a multi-colored kite. A flock of birds fly near a girl holding a bike. Its not quite what Dose had first envisioned, but like with any project, it evolved as the project did.Doses 6-year-old daughter, Ella kept her company in the studio while she worked on the boot, she said, even helping to prime the surface. While the two worked on the project, Ella kept asking questions about the characters, about what they were doing and how they got there and helping to make up stories for them. During the many hours the pair spent in the studio, Ella paid Dose a meaningful compliment.She said mommy, you have the most beautiful imagination. I was blown away. My chest caved in and I had to take a really deep breath. It was the best compliment Ive ever gotten, Dose said.

Minturn resident and artist Jon Smith heard about the Boots on Broadway project on the radio, he said.I loved the idea of the boot and I thought my designs would work pretty well on that canvas.Smith used the draw function in the computer program Excel to make a series of symmetrical designs. After taking the boot to an auto body shop to have it painted gloss black, he had the designs printed on heavy vinyl and laminated them onto the boot. The finished boot was both expensive from a time and cost standpoint, he said he invested $1,200 in the boot and about 80 hours of work But its all for a good cause, he said.Smith, who manages a ranch in Minturn, said that his employer likes the boot so much theyll likely buy it at the auction. I might get to have it as an accouterment to the ranch, which would be very appropriate.Arts & Entertainment Writer Caramie Schnell can be reached for comment at

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