Grand Junction will honor the founder of the city’s popular Art on the Corner public art program this Saturday. An approximately 10-foot tall sculpture, made by the late Dave Davis, will be installed along Main Street.
Davis was a Grand Valley arts heavyweight, beloved for his creativity, generosity and arts advocacy. His death in August 2018 shocked the community. His daughter, Amanda Davis, said “this is the right piece” to memorialize her father.
“I think it’s kind of monumental like him,” Amanda, who has taken up her father’s mantle by continuing his nonprofit art school, said. “It’s big and makes a statement. Whatever that statement is, it definitely makes one.”
It’s certainly big. Amanda said it took five people just to hoist the sculpture into a truck to transport it.
Dave Davis created this piece in the early 2000s, crafting it mostly from steel, “some bumpers, other found objects, a little bit of copper, and a lot of automotive paint,” Amanda said. The Downtown Development Authority purchased the piece to be part of the Art on the Corner permanent collection.
The installation and afternoon dedication of the work coincides with the fourth annual Downtown Art Festival and the kickoff to the next round of Art on the Corner works going up, about 17 new pieces.
Art on the Corner is Dave Davis’ brainchild, and perhaps the most enduring and visible part of his legacy. He started it in the mid-80s, shortly after the region’s oil shale bust. He asked his artist friends to loan pieces to display downtown for a year. The idea was to boost morale during a bleak time. Thirty-five years on, it’s a model that’s been replicated around the continent.
Sarah Dishong is the chair of the Grand Junction Arts & Culture Commission, which Davis also helped launch. She said this year’s offering is very diverse, including interactive pieces, marble work, as well as bronze and steel sculptures.
Art on the Corner “is an introduction of a large variety of artwork,” she said. “I think it helps broaden the scope of what perceptions of art are.”
There are already a few Dave Davis pieces in the permanent collection, but they felt is was important to add this memorial piece “that was specifically focused on his contribution to Art on the Corner, the arts and culture commission, and even The Art Center” organization, which he ran for years.
“He was such an important asset to our community in that way,” Dishong said. “Now we have an opportunity to recognize the work he did.”
“Painter, Teacher, Mentor and Advocate for the arts in the Grand Valley,” the plaque that will accompany the sculpture reads.
The work is untitled, as much of his art was.
“He liked to let other people draw their own conclusions,” Amanda Davis said. “Dad wanted people to take away their own thing, their own emotions. He didn’t want too much put into that.”