Artwork is under construction for the two roundabouts near the entrance of Fruita off Interstate 70, highlighting the past and present culture of the area. In addition, fundraising is underway to complete four additional sculptures.
The artwork, which is being created by Jeff Bates, is part of an effort by the city of Fruita and its Arts and Culture Board to spruce up those roundabouts with new landscaping and sculptures. The city will break ground on the landscaping and pedestals for the artwork in mid-February. The first two sculptures are set to be installed in early April.
“The roundabouts have been in place for 10 or 12 years,” Fruita Parks and Recreation Director Ture Nycum said. “It’s been one of those constant pieces of feedback that we get from our community — do something about the roundabouts. What the Arts and Culture Board has been able to do to get this going is just tremendous. They deserve a ton of credit for all they have done.”
Over the past five years, the board — under the leadership of Bill Holstein — raised thousands of dollars to go toward artwork for the roundabouts at the annual Fruita Art Stroll. Holstein died in 2020, but the current board is committed to seeing his vision come to fruition, Arts and Culture Board Chairperson Nancy Patterson said.
“Bill was the one who kind of had the vision,” Patterson said. “People had talked for years about having art out there, but Bill grabbed a hold of it and said let’s make this our project. Let’s do this.”
The roundabout project came out of the 2016 Fruita Gateway Enhancement Plan in which it was identified as a priority. Board Member Pavia Justinian said having artwork that represented the community at its entrance would be an enhancement for everyone.
“Fruita is really the first community that you hit if you’re coming into Colorado from Utah and right now those roundabouts are just kind of empty,” Justinian said. “So we think it would be really a great thing for the community and the state as a whole to have some artwork there and to have some cultural representation.”
The Arts and Culture Board championed fundraising for the sculptures and raised enough to commission the first two pieces. One depicts the city’s ranching past with a rider on horseback, and the other is of a mountain biker in a nod to its recreation economy. Each roundabout will have a theme, with the southern roundabout being “Then” and the northern one being “Now.”
“Over the course of five years, we’ve had many community members, small businesses helping us to put together this event in dollars and in-kind and in silent auction items,” Patterson said. “It’s really been a community effort.”
Now the board is working to secure the final $30,000 in funding it needs to be able to commission the final four statues. Those will depict a tractor and apple tree in the southern roundabout and a hiker and kayaker in the northern roundabout.
Patterson said it recently received support from Family Health West, Dr. Michael Neste, Robinson and Co. Realty and Chesnick Realty with FCI donating its services to install the sculptures. Patterson said at the beginning of March it will hold an online fundraiser to raise additional funds. Anyone interested in more information on how to give can visit facebook.com/FruitaArt.
“It’s very exciting,” Board Member Patty Doss said. “I’ve been on the board for five years and for me it’s a huge accomplishment to see this come to almost fruition.”