What is Together?
Together is a multifaceted a community project. A partnership between the artist and activist, Tavares Strachan, the Telluride Foundation, the Ah Haa School for the Arts and the town of Mountain Village. Together includes philanthropy, community engagement, conversations, and education. The anchor of the project is a monumental public artwork cited on the mountainside outside of Mountain Village.
What is the message of the artwork?
This is a site-specific sculpture imagined by the Artist for this particular place. Tavares chose WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER as the text for his sculpture as a gesture of solidarity and a call to action to inspire the community. It is meant to spur discussion and introspection. It is an invitation to the viewer to ask themselves whether the statement strikes them as true.
“The project seeks to bring the community together and to add to the narrative of Telluride. I was interested in shedding light on local issues around housing, climate, food, education, and immigration. It is about coming together to research and address some of these questions at a local level that resonates more broadly in our current climate. In this moment of nationalism, it is particularly difficult to manage global issues without zooming in on local issues,” said artist Tavares Strachan.
What is the sculpture made of?
WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER is a neon sculpture.
Does the sculpture affect the ecology of the mountainside?
It was important for the artist to locate his sculpture in a public place where it could be accessed freely by all. Much consideration was given to not negatively impacting the environment where the sculpture will be installed. Animal pathways and grass regeneration were all taken into consideration.
What about light pollution and the importance of dark skies?
The neon sculpture will be most visible when passing directly above it while in the gondola. The trees lining the gondola easement provide an effective natural barrier on both sides of the neon to limit light emanating beyond the gondola easement.
When will the sculpture be lit?
WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER will be lit during the hours of gondola operation only.
Will the brightness of the neon change throughout the day and night?
The neon sculpture is “dimmable” so can be adjusted to produce the desired illumination through the day and evening.
What about electricity usage?
The electricity to power the sculpture will be from 100% renewable sources (solar panels in Paradox Valley)
Five years ago, Tavares made his first visit to Telluride and Mountain Village. After returning several times to the community, he began to conceptualize a way to give back to the place and express his appreciation for their hospitality.
When will the sculpture be unveiled? How long will the sculpture be up?
The sculpture is presently scheduled to be unveiled late in September and will live on the mountain for 18 months.
What activities will occur in Telluride to celebrate this project? Why were they delayed?
The Ah Haa School for the Arts is leading a robust schedule of programming to engage the entire community. From poetry and art workshops to education for regional youth, there will be something for everyone. Due to the pandemic, some of the programming originally planned for early this summer is being reworked so people can participate virtually. The first program called “The Big Conversation”: an evening of poetry led by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer is scheduled for July 23rd.
Who funded this project?
The project is being funded exclusively through private cash and in-kind donations.