Crested Butte’s newest red light district on the 200 block of Elk
By Mark Reaman
Remember when the Crested Butte Town Council wanted to keep one of the lampposts on Elk Avenue painted blue after the Whatever USA party in 2014 to commemorate the giant beer promotion? There was even talk at the time about painting several lampposts different colors to commemorate unique qualities of Crested Butte. But given the vehement community split over the Bud Light party, the idea caused a huge uproar and was nixed after much debate.
But red isn’t blue and Red Lady isn’t Bud Light. The Town Council on Monday, October 17, gave a nod of approval to artist Jeremy Rubingh’s request to use a $1,000 grant from the newly formed Creative District “for a sculptural installation project that would create an interactive opportunity to engage the public as well as contribute to the uniqueness of our small, creative and beautiful village,” his proposal stated. “This installation involves painting one of our town lampposts, changing the bulb and creating a small informational placard.”
In other words, Rubingh will be painting the lamppost outside of 212 Elk Avenue a bright red and changing the bulb to red as well.
The informational sign will acknowledge the Creative District and provide information about the history and developments on how the community has kept Mt. Emmons, also known as Red Lady, free of a molybdenum mine for decades. The post, that at a certain angle frames Red Lady Bowl from Elk Avenue, “will subtly and esthetically highlight how incredibly unique we are as a creative and environmentally minded mountain town as well,” wrote Rubingh.
Because the weather is turning cold, the project will be completed by the end of the month. The council doesn’t meet again until November so at the October 17 meeting the council heard the request from Crested Butte Creative District representatives and councilman Jim Schmidt and staff member Michael Yerman. Council support was needed because the project proposed using public property.
Schmidt referenced the controversy over the blue post idea but the council felt the situation was very different. “I think the blue lamppost idea represented something completely different and this is something I believe we can support,” said councilmember Roland Mason.
The rest of the council agreed, especially given the current situation with the town working with the mine owner to reach a permanent solution that would end the threat of a new industrial mine on Mt. Emmons.
The pole will remain red for a year and then be returned to its original green to match the other 50 lampposts located downtown.
The Creative District granted four creative proposals. They include:
-Josh Legere, Rest + Relax in Crested Butte – proposal to install a bench made with repurposed skis for a site-specific location. The bench will include the Creative District logo.
-Jeremy Rubingh, Red Promise – proposal to paint a lamppost red and install a red light to honor the Red Lady and the long pursuit of the environmental protection of Mt. Emmons.
-William Tintera, Steve Glazer Art Collection Sign – proposal to produce a wooden sign for an art collection to be displayed at the Center of the Arts.-
-Sophia Chudacoff, Modern Folk Songs of the Valley – proposal to compose music and choreograph dancers for a free public performance.