Archive for July, 2010

Avo on the grass

July 9, 2010

Sculpture now rests next to the Driscoll Center.


Maria is now lounging comfortably on the grass. I received word on Wednesday that the avocado was resting (uncomfortably) on its side – probably due to the afternoon storms we’ve been having this last week. Although she really fit into the Humanities Garden atmosphere it was time to see how she does without all that water and ambiance so I got the crew together to move her. After patching up with new paint I think she looks pretty good – although a little worse for wear. It was interesting to see people pass by without even noticing we were there fussing over a giant avocado. Proves that you can do just about anything on a college campus without it being considered weird!  

Maria seen through the sculpture next to Penrose Library.


Facing north towards Evans.


This setting is minus the benches and vegetation so doesn’t really encourage people to stop by. Although, it could be a photo op location – similar to that huge ball of twine somewhere in the midwest they always show in special interest stories.  

Take a look and comment on the difference in placement. It will be interesting to see if she still creates a “sense of place” or is more of an example of “Plop Art”.  

My son Ben & nieces Lani and Heather with me to mark the event.


Avocado down! But she’s ok!

July 6, 2010

Fallen down and can't get up!


I received a couple e-mails last night that Avo Maria looked a bit broken up as you can see from the photo sent to me by Jessa – thanks Jessa! When I told Wayne he insisted we jump into action to fix her. It was a little disheartening when we walked up to see the fruit unattached and just floating aimlessly back and forth in the long fountain. The security guard that came by told us they had a wild and windy storm July 4 eve that must have knocked it off its pedestal.   

It’s sitting a little farther back as we had to drive the rods further into the bulk of the sculpture and create a new “belly button” for the central metal rod that attaches it.  There are some scuffs and bruises and she’s not exactly centered as before so if you go by to view – don’t be too critical – she had a rough night!  

This is actually a good lesson for the “placemaking” viewpoint of my research paper. One of the characteristics that made the avocado shape right for the piece was that it was low to the ground and could withstand Colorado weather. But, the placement changed from the big pond – where a viewer would look down on the sculpture – to the top level of the fountain. If the avocado was laid flat up there, all the viewer would see would be a black back-side so I needed to tilt and prop and support. Oh my, how did Lawrence Argent ever figure out how to create that huge Blue Bear without the fear of it toppling through the windows at the Denver Convention Center? 

Wayne soggy, Maria back in business!


So, not sure about changes when we move it to the grassy knoll. If you go by to see her send me a report of her condition. Thanks, Terrie

Avocado has a new home!

July 1, 2010

Avo Maria is done!


Yay! The floating avocado has been installed at the DU Humanities Garden fountain. Or, as my friend Tonya Everist calls it, “Avo Maria”. It did seem like it would take an act of God to make everything happen but I had a fabulous crew. My husband Wayne, son Ben and friend John Jui helped transport and install today. It may seem like a small thing but the experience helps me understand how the installation of the Blue Mustang at DIA could possibly cost $300,000.  

Carting the sculpture to the site.


I ended up renting a cargo van from UHaul and we tied the piece up so it wouldn’t wobble and crush itself on the insides of the van. See the picture of us carrying it to the fountain – it looks like I’m not there but I’m leading the way and carrying the base. I like how Ben looks like he doesn’t have a body and his head is growing out of the sculpture!  

Once we arrived at the site there was a lot of discussion about the even distribution of weight and how to make the piece structurally sound to face the Colorado crazy weather.  

Supporting and stabilizing the art.


The guys set it up on the sidewalk to decide angle, support, etc. and then drove a metal rod through the center to attach the avocado to the base. It’s also supported by 2 metal rods and  a foam wedge in the back. The DU PR group was there to take photos and you can see their story at We dropped it into the fountain and walked it over to the display site before attaching weights onto the bottom. It all took about an hour and I think it looks pretty good.  

The concept of this Capstone (Thesis) project is to observe the proper placement of a public art sculpture and the change to the environment around it. If you have any feedback please post a comment. I won’t use your actual comments in the research paper but can use the ideas anecdotally to describe overall impressions.  

My advice to anyone who wants to try a project like this:  

1. When choosing to sculpt with a hot wire tool in the garage, plan for cooler weather – not the 90s like I did. 2. Design your piece to the size specifications of the vehicle you plan to transport it in. 3. Get a pair of Crocs or Crocs knockoffs (trust me on this). 4. Don’t hesitate to use your Dyson vacuum in the garage. 5. Tip the trash man the day they take away 20 bags of excess Polystyrene. 6. Like planning anything, take your cost estimate and double it!  

Oh, one last note; my son Ben just graduated with an Architectural Engineering degree from CU and is looking for a position as a lighting engineer. Send any leads my way! Terrie  

The art installation crew.


Avocado D-Day!

July 1, 2010

Avocado waiting in my garage.


We’re scheduled to pick up a Uhaul van this morning to transport the sculpture – phew! I really can’t wait until it’s safely in place and I can come home and take a nap! Ben, my son the engineer, is coming over so we can figure out how to attach the piece to the pedestal that will be structurally sound, not come apart, not tip over, etc. My husband and I have come up with a ton of ideas but think it’s time to see what 5 years of CU engineering education can do for the situation.

Yesterday I drilled through the base to insert the rods that attach to the weights with rope. Wayne gave me the drill and the bits and then left the house where he would be safe. Don’t know why he’s so uncomfortable about me handling power tools – haven’t landed in the hospital yet.

My next, and possibly final post will be tomorrow with pictures of everything in place looking fabulous. Check back then to see how it all turns out. Cheers! Terrie