Curious Colorado: Where did those Humpty Dumpties come from?

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — There’s no question downtown Colorado Springs has a rich artistic culture. This is evident with the many galleries and public pieces of art sprinkled across the city landscape. Among the more recognizable pieces are the Humpty Dumpty brothers.

The egg men can be spotted clinging to the exterior walls of a bank and other buildings. One viewer asked us where they came from and who put them there.

The first egg man appearance was 15 years ago, when the artist Kimber Fiebiger submitted it as an installation for the annual Art on the Streets program.  “The first was named Hump D and sat in front of the Pikes Peak Center,” Claire Swinford said. She’s the Urban Engagement Manager for the Downtown Partnership, which has been coordinating the Art on the Street program for nearly two decades.  “One of the local businesses saw it and said ‘that really strikes my fancy’ and commissioned a couple more from the artist and installed them in unexpected places downtown.”

You can now see at least four egg men on South Tejon Street near Colorado Avenue. The original three-foot, 200-pound piece was commissioned in 2003.

Art on the Streets is a privately-funded program for all the public to see.  “Public art is accessible to everyone,” Swinford said. “No matter what their language, what their socioeconomic status, it’s free and it’s accessible to all, 24/7.”

Robert Colston walks by some of the artwork nearly every day.  “I helps me know where I’m at,” he said. “It’s a good gauge as a landmark.”

Landmarks or not, for almost two decades, Art on the Streets has spruced up public spaces downtown with a yearly exhibit of works of sculpture from around the world. The 2016-2017 program featured art from seven countries, 21 states and 19 Colorado cities.

Kendra Fleischman is a Fort Collins artist whose sculpture Origins sat in the northwest corner of Acacia Park last year.  “Being able to show your work and have the public enjoy it, that’s why I’m doing it,” Fleischman said. “It’s not to be made and hidden away somewhere. It’s outdoors and can interact with the public every single day, and that’s pretty fantastic.”

In addtion to origins, the dozen installations included the likes of Eventide Rhythm, Galactice Stardust, X-Axis, Colorado, and the Consequence of Line, to name a few.

Scottie Burgess put together three installations this year in his Civic Treasures collection. He and the other artists can be heard on the Otocast App. It walks you through all of the Art on the Street installations with background and audio descriptions.  You can even vote on what you think is the best in the collection and inquire on purchasing the piece(s).

The installations are coming down this week and new pieces will go up by the end of the first week in June.  They won’t be placed in the exact same spot but at you’ll be able to see at least a dozen new additions to Art on the Street.  “In addition to beautify the cultural district, the sculptors also do so many other tings to benefit the public,” Swinford explained. “It’s encouraging mobility, brightening up a block that maybe needs a little TLC and encouraging to view the space differently.”

So put on your walking shoes and get ready to get acquainted to a whole new collection of art–except for Hump D, who will continue to sit where he has the last 14 years. If you haven’t seen him yet, you might want to hurry up because he’s precariously sitting on a wall.

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