As is becoming a tradition, lawns and gardens around the area were alive with colorful butterflies this summer.
On Oct. 12, the sculptures found permanent homes after the sixth annual Butterflies and Friends Gala and Auction.
There was one exception.
"More Than Glass," (pictured), a bright green, blue and yellow creation by artists Marlene Whitt and Tena Cobb, had been stolen from Old Colorado City where it had been on display as a promotion for the auction.
The 29 other butterflies were auctioned for several thousand dollars each to support art programs at McAuliffe Elementary School, Mitchell High School and Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy.
Then auctioneer Kevin Patterson announced a special "raise the paddle" for money pledged in honor of the missing sculpture. Artists Whitt and Cobb were in tears as "More Than Glass" brought in $2,000 and a standing ovation. "It's a good thing from a bad thing," said Patterson.
The butterflies are an annual project of the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs and raised over $70,000 for this year's recipient schools and for the club's altruistic projects.
The participating artists had been juried to transform the large metal templates into sculptures.
District 11 Superintendent Nicholas Gledich thanked the Rotary members, saying the money going to the schools "is above and beyond" budgets and offers an opportunity to add programs in the arts. For example, he said, there were 1,500 students who wanted to participate in a music clinic at Wasson and thanks to programs such as the butterflies, "every student had a musical instrument in his or her hands."
Swallowtail sponsors of the auction were Kuni Lexus of Colorado Springs, GE Johnson Construction, The Gazette, Fox 21 News and SOCO The CW.