The Lone Tree Arts Commission discussed the possible lease renewal or purchase of the “Tuono” sculpture outside of the Lone Tree Arts Center during a meeting on July 14. “Tuono” was installed in April of last year, and its lease will end in April 2022.
Larry Lovelace, chair of the arts commission, explained that “Tuono” was commissioned to replicate the design of the building. The sculpture was created by artists Collin Parson and Jodie Roth Cooper out of Corten steel and mirror-polish stainless steel. It follows the same slant as the roof of the arts center.
Allissa Dailey, community events manager for the city, talked to one of the artists about acquiring the sculpture when the lease ends and was told that the purchase price was $100,000.
“It sounded to me like he wasn't really willing to budge much,” Dailey said. “He did obviously mention that if we wanted to extend the lease on it, that that would be an option. I didn't necessarily get a number on what that would be.”
The commission discussed how that amount is not realistic for their budget. Tonya Fallows, president of the Lone Tree Arts Guild and member of the commission, said: “That would be a hefty event to raise that money.”
Julie Kemerling, vice chair of the commission, explained that the public assumes that art like “Tuono” is paid for by tax money, and sometimes it is, but usually it's not.
“People just assume that we just buy it or whatever, but the general public does not realize at all what goes into getting pieces in Lone Tree, or any city, and how much it costs,” Kemerling said.
Lovelace said that the artists’ willingness or reluctance to renew the lease on Tuono next year will indicate whether or not they have found another home for the sculpture other than the arts center.
Fallows asked Dailey what amount would be more attainable in the city's opinion.
“I mean that’s all going to really depend on the taxes,” Dailey said. “From my understanding of these tiers that have been asked for, I believe the last tier, if that gets approved, that’s what would have maybe the money for the mural, but I don’t think there would be anything past that that would be able to also incorporate that piece, so it would kind of have to be an either or situation.”
Dailey is referring to the “Mapping Our Future” initiative in Lone Tree, which is the proposition of a 1% sales tax increase to help fund the city’s operations and services. The first town hall for the initiative will be held online on July 22.
Fallows explained that they need to at least figure out what the cost of a renewed lease would be. Dailey said that the current lease of Tuono beginning last April is $5,000 with the cost of time and materials for the commission.
“Originally, kind of like Art Encounters, the intent was they would build it, and then they would circulate it in that kind of framework, but given that it was specifically built for us with this in mind, that's kind of how it came up,” Michelle Bechamps, member of the committee, said.
Douglas County Art Encounters is a year-round outdoor sculpture display through Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree and Parker, according to the Lone Tree Arts Center's website.
“I mean we can always put it back into the Art Encounters or wherever they choose to rotate it and just keep leasing it. That's an option, no doubt, but there's economies of scale too,” Bechamps said.
Lovelace asked the commission if anyone was opposed to keeping “Tuono,” and no one said yes.
“Hopefully it never leaves,” Lovelace said.