Children’s Fountain an early piece of public art in Vail |

Children’s Fountain an early piece of public art in Vail

Molly EppardArt in Public Places SpotlightVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyVail: "Children's Fountain," by Dennis Smith. Created in 1986.

VAIL, Colorado -One of the first contributions to Vail’s art collection was the Children’s Fountain by artist Dennis Smith. Deane Knox, owner of the Knox Galleries with locations in Beaver Creek, Denver and Harbor Springs, Mich., commissioned the 1986 work along with Gordon Pierce on behalf of the Art in Public Places program, which was established in 1984. Knox’s goal was to “initiate activity in the arts in Vail.” Smith, of Alpine, Utah, is a graduate of Brigham Young University and also attended the prestigious Danish Royal Academy in Copenhagen. In 1968, his artistic direction turned to figurative work. Children became the main motif in his bronze sculptures. “The child became a significant metaphor for humankind in general,” Smith says. “Vail’s Children’s Fountain is an assemblage of five images of children in exuberance and exemplifies the celebration of the human spirit. Smith’s work is influenced by the German Expressionists and the sculptural work by Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin. He incorporates a similar sense of gesture and texture, capturing the vibrancy of a child and their movement.Smith has over 125 public installations throughout the world. His works in the U.S. have been placed in hospitals, libraries and colleges. Abroad, his work is in the collection of several American embassies, including Moscow, Prague, and London. Smith also has been integral Utah’s arts programs. He co-founded the Alpine Art Center to further the advancement of the arts as an educational center, working studios, and sculptural park. Garnering sponsorship from the CEO of JC Penny in New York, Knox coordinated an exchange program between the children’s program at St. John’s Cathedral in New York and the children of Eagle County. The original Children’s Fountain included small bronze animals created by the children of New York City. These elements of the sculpture have since been removed. The children of Eagle County whom Knox brought to New York on this exchange program, also created bronze sculptures that remain in place at the St. John’s Cathedral fountain.Molly Eppard is the Art in Public Places coordinator for the town of Vail.

Art in Public Places next free art walk is Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 3:30 p.m. at Vail Village information booth.

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