Arts Council imagines ‘Sculpture Trail’
By Mira Brody EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – Gibbous is the word to describe the phases in a moon cycle during which the moon is transitioning between being full and new. It is also the name of the new kinetic art sculpture that will soon replace the current sculpture, Menhir, in the roundabout on Town Center Avenue.
While Menhir, a piece donated and created by Bozeman artist Zak Zakovi, will be removed this week, the stone and steel piece the community has come to love in the Town Center roundabout is not disappearing entirely—it’ll soon after find a new home as the first piece in Big Sky’s new Sculpture Trail.
The trail will take off from Wilson Plaza and head south toward the Ousel Falls trailhead, creating a connection between those two community spaces. Along the trail there will be a series of sculptures that will increase over the years. The Arts Council’s education and outreach director, Megan Buecking, calls it, “A place to grow our public art collection.”
Once it takes shape, the Sculpture Trail will be part of a future partnership between the Big Sky Community Organization and The Arts Council of Big Sky as well as Big Sky Town Center to bring more public art to Town Center and the area’s trails.
Menhir was installed at the roundabout in 2008 and over the years, Buecking says, the community has come to recognize and appreciate the roundabout’s impressive, 13-foot high feature, even as Town Center has grown around it. She hopes in its new trailside location, admirers can get more intimate with the piece and appreciate its intricacies for years to come.
“Having public art that’s accessible really helps people feel that they have a sense of place, and that they are a part of it,” Buecking said. “When it’s accessible, they can be interacting with it in a more meaningful way than just driving by really quick and just glancing at it.”
BSCO’s Parks and Trails Director, Adam Johnson, says although the trail is still in the preliminary stages of planning and dependent on area development, that they look forward to working with the Arts Council to see what other sculptures can be added along the trail
While the Sculpture Trail takes shape, the Arts Council is turning its efforts toward getting Gibbous installed in early October. Gibbous artist Pedro de Movellan, who is an innovative contemporary sculptor based on the East Coast, has been working with the Arts Council to design his piece, which will move with the breeze and frame Lone Mountain in its circular features. In fall of 2019, de Movellan came out to view the space where the installation will go, and will return for its unveiling this fall.
Two months ago, the Arts Council launched a campaign to raise $250,000 for the installation of Gibbous, and as of Sept. 13, the campaign is nearly complete. All of the funds raised to date are from private donations, according to the Arts Council’s development director, Katie Alvin.
Individual donors have contributed 85 percent of the total so far with the remaining 15 percent coming from businesses including Lone Mountain Land Company, On Site Management and Locati Architects.
Arts Council board member and chair-elect Trux Emerson and his wife, Durbin, spearheaded the arrival of Gibbous and have been leaders in its fundraising campaign. De Movellan is also a great addition to the Arts Council’s other public arts pieces, a program Buecking says is integral to the identity of Big Sky.
“It’s totally free and just a part of your daily life—you don’t have to make a plan to enjoy it, it can just be a part of your day like when you go get coffee or something,” Buecking said. “Especially with some of the artists we have, these are museum-quality artists.”
As for the new Sculpture Trail, the Arts Council is looking to involve the community in how it takes shape, including a community vote, calls for art, art education programs and residencies where artists come to Big Sky to create new works on site. They are also always looking for community members with a passion for public art to join the Public Art Committee.