Vail rings in the holidays with bronze bells fundraiser |

Vail rings in the holidays with bronze bells fundraiser

Daily staff report
Vail CO, Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Vail’s Art in Public Places (AIPP) will be offering a limited edition of 25 commemorative bronze bells for sale this holiday season with proceeds benefiting public art programs. The individually cast bells incorporate the image of Vail’s most popular souvenir, the manhole cover. Bells, costing $200 each, will be available for purchase Wednesday through Sunday at the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum, in conjunction with Vail’s first ever Tannenbaum Festival.

The bells were created by North Carolina artist Mark Guilbeau who conducted a very popular bronze casting workshop in Ford Park last summer. After teaching more than 60 people how to carve their own design into sand molds, Guilbeau set up furnaces and cast the artwork in an impressive fiery display of molten metal. The Vail Bell was made using the same sand mold technique with the addition of the manhole cover insignia, a design that’s intrigued the artist since he first learned of it. Guilbeau will return to Vail in January 2009 with 10 more artists to conduct a “bowl” workshop and cast metal in Vail’s second annual Heavy Metal weekend.

“People who have expressed interest in the bell say they are looking for a unique gift, often to thank a host or hostess,” said Leslie Fordham, AIPP coordinator for the Town of Vail.

The bells are just one of AIPP’s initiatives to raise funds for public art, which also includes Vail manhole covers and manhole jewelry. Art in Public Places hopes to make this the first in a series of limited edition works of art that will be offered each year during the holiday season. Proceeds from the sale of bells this year will go towards the Heavy Metal Weekend event.

In addition to the bells, the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum will have an array of gifts, hand-painted glass ornaments and specially decorated wreaths available during the holidays. Manhole cover items, other than the bells, can be purchased at the Vail and Lionshead Information Booths or at the Vail Municipal Building.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Bells, wreaths and ornaments are all part of Vail’s first ever Tannenbaum Festival. Festival activities start at dusk on Wednesday with a Lighting of the Trees. Shops will be competing for the best lighting display and restaurants will be offering specials. One of the highlights of the Festival will be a parade of Bernese Mountain Dogs on Saturday. For more information about Vail’s Tannenbaum Festival, visit

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