- Griffin Swartzell
“Some of my early ideas [for the statuary garden] were pretty modest,” says GOCA director Daisy McGowan. But when funding became available from the Bee Vradenburg Foundation and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, she called Joshua Kempf, Starr’s grandson and a longtime acquaintance.
“[It’s] meant a lot to me and to other members of my family,” he says of the display. “It’s been awesome to be able to do this, even if it’s temporary.”
It’s the first time these three sculptures have been on display in Colorado since 2003. Originally shown at the Starr Kempf estate (2057 Pine Grove Ave.), they were pulled down after a very public legal argument between the city and Kempf’s daughter, Lottie, centered on her running commercial tours of the property. According to Joshua Kempf, the sculptures spent a few years in New Mexico before going into storage, where they stayed until McGowan reached out in mid-2016.
“A lot of people say they look like they were made for the building,” she says.
The Kemp sculptures will stay up for only two years, according to current plans. The most practical reason: Their upkeep is involved and expensive because they’re outdoors in a relatively harsh climate.
“Any choice to keep those here would come from an endowment to fund their long-term upkeep,” McGowan says. “... To respect the art is to respect the artist, and that’s really important to me.”