Volunteers and artists, families and individuals have teamed to create a wholly unique art piece for the people -- a sandbox, now under construction in Manitou's Memorial Park.
Not just any sandbox, this pond-shaped piece includes swooping architecture punctuated with gaping circular entries, a zero-elevation wheelchair entry, and a mosaic consisting of hundreds of hand-formed and hand-painted clay tiles. When completed later this year, the outer wall will be tiled in a forest theme with butterflies, tree leaves and a variety of woodland animals. The inner wall will carry a pond theme, with a variety of fish and aquatic life.
Commissioned by the Manitou Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the structure is part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the numerous parks in the city of 5,000 west of Colorado Springs.
Grants and donations from individuals and businesses helped to raise additional funds needed to complete the $15,000 project. Donors also took part in the design by decorating individual tiles.
Artist and children's book author Jillian Lund created the overall concept. She is being joined in the studio by ceramicist Paul Dahlsten and multimedia artist Harriet Lee.
"This project has been really exciting," said Lund while at work at the Business of Art Center, where the tiles are being completed. "We will incorporate a poem being put into the wall, and it will act as a seek-and-find. From the smallest child to older children who are learning counting and visual recognition to bigger kids who will be climbing all over it, the sandbox will have a wide age appeal."
-- Story and photo by Gavin Ehringer