Eleven new pieces from artists in Colorado, Idaho and Utah are now up throughout the Tri-Lakes area courtesy of "ARTSites," an exhibit presented by Tri-Lakes Views. The nonprofit started in 2003 as a way to increase art. The first exhibit in 2007 featured two outdoor sculptures.

"When people think northern El Paso County, they think housing developments," said Betty Konarski, treasurer of the Tri-Lakes Views steering committee. "We wanted to use art to bring all these disparate communities together."

The sculptures are installed at the Sculpture Park adjacent to the District 38 Administration Building, the Santa Fe Trailhead on Second Street, Monument Town Hall in Monument and Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts in Palmer Lake.

They'll be up for a year.

The 11 works join five other permanent sculptures in the area. A sixth permanent piece, commissioned by Tri-Lakes Views, will be installed July 1 at the intersection of Baptist Road and Old Denver Highway. Denver-based artist Reven Marie Swanson's "Aspen Grove" will be the first piece of art to decorate a roundabout along the Interstate 25 corridor, Konarski said. It consists of 12 metal trees that stand 20 feet and are lit at night.

"When you consider we're just this little burg of two little towns, that's a lot of art," Konarski said.

Every January, a call for entries for "ARTSites" is sent to hundreds of sculptors. A jury then evaluates portfolios and selected artists receive a $300 stipend. Each sculpture must fit one of 12 pedestals located in the region. This year, Tri- Lakes Views received about 12-15 portfolio applications.

"ARTSites" is funded through grants, individual contributions and advertising in a full-color map of the public art in the area. The free map will be available mid-July in shops, hotels and motels in the region and at the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce, 166 Second St., Monument.

"I've always said it takes two kinds of people in the world to make art - the person who makes it and the person who buys it. An artist has to make a living. I love it and support it," Konarski said.

A&E and features reporter

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