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Date: September 02, 2009 04:23PM
SILT, Colorado — A newly unveiled art piece in the Silt roundabout is proving
to be the butt of controversy for the town. And in hindsight, the town board
should have seen it coming. However, it seems they chose to turn the other
The backside in question is that of what is being perceived to be a naked rock
climber on one side of a sculpture sitting in the middle of the town's new
roundabout at Main Street and the Interstate 70 overpass downtown.
In response to the sculpture, which was unveiled on Aug. 21, someone early
Monday morning pinned a piece of cloth, which resembled a pair of boxer shorts,
to cover up the naked rock climber's buttocks. Commuters on their way to work
stopped and stared and some even took pictures.
Forrest Jacobs of Silt is outraged by the sculpture and says he is not the only
“It's not just me — there's a lot of people,” Jacobs insisted. “And it's
not the sculpture — it's the one part — the naked man climbing the
Jacobs, who is a plumber, said it was the “crack” of the sculpted figure's
buttocks that disturbed him.
He also said that he had spoken with a school teacher who said the kids were
disruptive in class because they were busy talking about the nude sculpture.
“Everyone thinks it's not appropriate for that to be showing,” Jacobs
He added that a prior rendition of the sculpture before it was built only showed
a man on the wall.
“There was no crack involved,” Jacobs insisted. “He just put that in and
now it stands out.”
The sculptor, Blaine Peters, who owns Rock Work Unlimited in Rifle, was
commissioned by the town of Silt to create the sculpture, but was out of town on
Monday and had no idea of the controversy taking place.
“You've got to be kidding,” Peters said when he was told. “What's funny
about the whole thing is that the form has no ears, no mouth, no hands and no
feet and no one's complained. It's not a man or a woman. It's a human in the
rawest form climbing a rock. What's amusing to me is that they don't see it for
what it is. They only see what they want to see.”
Peters maintains that he submitted a model of the artwork to town board members
before creating the sculpture, which included the rock climber with the now
controversial crack. The model was approved by the town board.
Mayor Dave Moore said he did not want to offend the citizens of Silt, but on the
other hand, saw some humor in the situation.
“We have sympathy toward [Jacobs'] argument, but on the flip side, it's an
artist's rendition,” Moore said. “But perhaps it's a little too sensitive
and being carried a little too far.”
Jacobs said he went before the board to complain at the Aug. 24 regular town
board meeting, but got little response, except being told that one of his
options would be to present the board with a petition of signatures, which he
says he will do if he has to.
The town directed staff to remove the material by Monday afternoon, but is still
interested in who pinned the “boxers” on the buttocks.
“There will be a possible investigation as to who put them there,” Moore
said. “It's vandalism. It's defacing public property — there are laws
attached to this.”
Seven miles down the road to the west, the city of Rifle last summer unveiled
its new sculptured rendition of a cattle drive in the middle of its two new
roundabouts between I-70 and Airport Road.
The sculptures include anatomically correct cattle with bull testicles and cow
“We haven't had any complaints — not a word,” Mayor Keith Lambert joked.
“I guess we're just an easier, happy-go-lucky crowd.”
As far as Silt's sculpture, in which the rock climber's backside faces Rifle,
there are other theories.
“The word on the street is that Silt is mooning Rifle,” Lambert said with a
laugh. “So you can only guess what they're doing to Glenwood.”