La Plata County installs public art at fairgrounds

Thursday, May 3, 2018 6:51 PM
La Plata County workers installed two new statues on either side of the La Plata County Fairgrounds sign on Monday. Joel Jurkens, a Durangoan, donated the rearing horses to the county.
Bryan Meador and Brandon Daniel install “Brutus” on Monday at the entrance of the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Faith Shields, a former La Plata County resident, donated the statue to the county.

Prancing and rearing steel horses were installed Monday at the entrance to the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

Two donors gifted the public art pieces, La Plata County spokeswoman Megan Graham said.

“La Plata County Fairgrounds is the epicenter for equestrian activities. … It seems to be the best place to install them,” she said.

Former La Plata County resident Faith Shields, who was a member of the county’s equestrian community, donated “Brutus,” the piece installed just south of the entrance to the fairgrounds.

Durango metal artist Dave Claussen based the piece on two of her dressage horses and installed the piece at her riding facility about 10 years ago.

“Brutus” was installed Monday in front of the La Plata County Fairgrounds. It was the first horse Durango metal artist Dave Claussen sculpted.

Shields and her husband, Del, donated the piece to the county as a gift to the community before they moved to California, Graham said. The piece is valued at about $100,000.

“They just loved that piece,” Claussen said. But they wanted it to be enjoyed by more people, he said.

Durangoan Joel Jurkens donated two rearing horses that were installed on either side of the La Plata County Fairgrounds sign.

Jurkens is the former owner of Octopus Car Wash, a large chain, and bought the steel horses in Albuquerque to draw attention to his car wash locations. The horses were likely made in Mexico, he said.

The horses were installed in Albuquerque before they were sent to locations in Farmington and Pueblo. When Jurkens sold his business, he brought them to his backyard in Durango, where they were enjoyed mainly by birds, he said.

“It makes me happy to see that they are being used,” he said.