Stone puzzles on Vail’s Wall Street amuse |

Stone puzzles on Vail’s Wall Street amuse

Molly Eppard
Art in Public Places spotlight
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado – While strolling along Wall Street in the Vail Village one might notice the engraved stones on the pedestrian path. Images of an owl, a pig, a bowl, a jar, a dragon, a clock, a chicken, a whistle, and a tent are among the images engraved in these colorful stone blocks. Denver-based artist Carolyn Braaksma created this visual play on words and images for the town of Vail’s 2004 street renovation project.

These clever rebuses and word puzzles have caused people to stop in their steps in curiosity. According to the dictionary, a rebus is a representation of words or syllables depicted by pictures of objects or by symbols whose names resemble the intended words or syllables in sound; a riddle made up of pictures or symbols. Braaksma’s puzzles are specifically designed for Vail and were a collaborative effort with the art in public places board in 2004. Ski slopes, gardens, landmarks and symbols of Vail are playfully displayed within these riddles.

If one looks carefully to the stone walls on the east side of Wall Street they will discover carved works by Braaksma embedded into the wall. These animals carved in Indiana Limestone coordinate with the word puzzles along Wall Street. A hare to a toad; a toad to a bird; a bird to a fish; and a fish to bait are all images carved in stone.

Since 1989, Carolyn Braaksma has been executing public art projects throughout the country. Her site-integrated work is specific to the location. Her award-winning public art can be viewed at the Denver International Airport; TREX project on the I-25 corridor in Denver; University of Texas at San Antonio; San Diego International Airport; Iowa State University; and the city of Scottsdale, Ariz., to name only a few.

Free guided art walks with art in public places begin Jan. 20. Visit for more information.

Molly Eppard is the art in public places coordinator for the town of Vail.

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