Sculptural signs tell story of Steamboat

by Deborah Olsen

The clean contemporary sculpture of artist David Marshall overlooks the city of Barcelona, Spain; it’s on display in Santa Fe, N.M., European museums and Harrods of London. 

His work also complements the newly installed bus stops in Steamboat Springs. 

Marshall, who was born in Scotland but has lived in Spain for 30-plus years, has a home in Hahn’s Peak and shows his work at the Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat. The MainStreet Steamboat Springs design committee selected him to be the bus stop artist.

Nine new shelters were installed last fall, after work on U.S. 40 through Old Town was completed. The shelters themselves have been categorized as architectural sculpture. Designed by Vertical Arts, they are made from steel with corrugated metal roofs. 

“They’re sculptural pieces, but they express regionalism,” says architect Brandt Vanderbosch of Vertical Arts. The bus shelters follow the form of ranchers’ sheds, but with modern lines.   

Marshall’s art completes the design. “I tried to contrast the glass and steel structure with a hand-cast, rather rough and textured cast aluminum and brass,” the artist explains. 

 “Aluminum seems to be fine, even in our tough environment. I have a sculpture opposite Hahn’s Peak Café that I put up three years ago, and it’s surviving even 10 meters of snow. The brass has been varnished and oven-baked, although it will gradually darken over time,” Marshall explains.

Each bus shelter has two signs, one indicating the cross street and the other the name of the bus stop.  The names reflect historic aspects of the community, from “Howelsen” and “Skiing” to “Ranching” and “Utes.” Plans are to include brief descriptions of the historic significance of the name at each stop. 

 “Once the art was applied, the look was complete,” says MainStreet Steamboat’s Tracy Barnett. “We wanted it to look like ART, not rhetoric.”