Installation Ceremony for Youth Created Sculpture!

We are thrilled to invite all to this grand event

We are eagerly looking forward to joining together with parents, students, instructors, collaborators and neighbors at Nucla’s Volunteer Park on April 20, from 3-5pm. It will be a joyous occasion where we can share anecdotes and express our heartfelt appreciation to those who have contributed to this remarkable piece of public art. Delicious snacks will be provided by Wild Gal’s Market, adding to the festive atmosphere.

And, for those traveling from Telluride wishing to carpool. please reach out to for ride info.

We’re seriously excited about the Youth October Sculpture Build!

Here’s the scoop!

Dates: October 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29.

Expert artists/builders and an architect guide the students during the entire program. Participants are involved for as many days as they wish. The final sculpture will be on display in Telluride, Norwood, Nucla, and Naturita for part of the year. Participants will be named on signage with sculpture. Transportation, food, materials, and all safety gear provided.
Advance sign up was required for students coming from Nucla, Naturita, and Norwood to confirm transportation.

OUR EXPERTS: Keith D’Angelo, Niel Ringstad, and Sherri Harvey

They have guided the students during our discussions about this sculpture creation.

Email with answers or questions or to sign up!

Download the flyer

Huge thanks to our collaborators for this workshop:
True North Youth Program, Communities That Care, Wilkinson Public Library, Telluride High School.

2023 Grant from National Endowment for the Arts

Rocky Mountain Arts (RMA) is pleased to announce it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Challenge America award of $10,000. The grant will support a Community Build Sculpture Project for youth. This grant is one of 262 Challenge America awards totaling $2.62 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants. We look forward to working with the NEA to finalize the grant details and appreciate the agency’s support.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide”, said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one with Rocky Mountain Arts strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy”.

“Rocky Mountain Arts is honored to be recognized with this NEA award that will allow us to reach youth in our region to collaborate with local sculptors, artists, and experts for this sculptural creation”, said Chris Myers, Board President.

Community Build Sculpture Project Details
Rocky Mountain Arts is creating a community sculpture build this year with the help of professional artists, architects, and builders. “We will work to inspire, teach, build self-confidence and offer all a place to express themselves during this creative process. Our goals are to reach the under-served communities in San Miguel and the West End of Montrose Counties to come together in the creation of a large-scale sculpture,” Explains Erin Ries, Executive Director.

This sculpture will ultimately be on permanent display. The plan is to obtain participation from youth and adults in Telluride, Norwood and the West End School Districts.

This program is free to all and RMA will provide all tools, materials, safety gear and lunch each program day. Additionally, RMA will provide  lodging and transportation for those who wish to participate but may be too far away for the commute.

Key Partners, Collaborators, Artists, Experts

True North Youth Program (TNYP)
True North serves the teen population in the rural San Juan Region. TNYP programs are available to all teens in the Norwood, Telluride and West End school districts and are free of charge. True North offers five year-round programs: (i) Workforce Preparedness and College Access including Scholarship Awards, (ii) Positive Youth Development through Outdoor Recreation, (iii) Community Service Learning, (iv) Academic Tutoring and Support, and (v) Rising Stars Summer Bridge Program. TNYP will work to help promote the program to teens as well as participate in a few of the build days.

Telluride Middle/High School (THS)
The Counseling Department at THS is collaborating on this project with the help of Alex Jones, High School Counselor. The school will offer the program to students, encourage participation, and provide outdoor space for the finished sculpture to be on display for a portion of the year.

Located in Naturita, CO, CampV’s mission to connect people, art, and community to ignite a spark in the historic mining town of Naturita fits with our vision for this project. The setting is the perfect place to complete the build and display the completed installation. CampV will help us bring together the surrounding rural communities to inspire connection and creativity.

CTC Communities That Care
Communities That Care (CTC) is collaborating on the project through resources they can contribute such as Spanish interpretation and translation, funds for childcare, food, and more. Said Ben Marshall, CTC Administrator: “This project fits with our mission to work alongside youth to develop programs to promote healthy and drug-free living.

Keith D’Angelo
Keith is a local artist who has produced many larger-than-life wood and interactive, propane fired sculptures for many of the previous Telluride Fire Festival. His public art installations are located in Aspen, Telluride, Carbondale, and Breckenridge. Keith is uniquely qualified to be one of our supporting artists as he has spent countless hours volunteering with underserved youth for his Master’s Degree.

Niel Ringstad
Originally from NYC, Niel is distinguished as a 35-year Telluride local, living for his first 10-years in a ski-bum shack of 72 square-feet. Niel is a graphic designer, an accomplished painter, and builder. He has built six towering sculptural works for the Telluride Fire Festival, which were cornerstones of the event. Niel is also deeply committed to giving back to his community. His community involvement has led to taking time out to help build a house in Norwood with Habitat For Humanity. His skills as a builder and artist make him perfectly qualified to be on our team.

Sherri Harvey
Sherri Harvey has 25 years’ experience in architecture. She has a Masters of Architecture degree from The Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, which is the oldest independent school of architecture in the UK and one of the most prestigious and competitive in the world. Her Bachelor of Architecture degree is from Penn State University. Sherri has two teenagers living with her in Telluride and believes in giving back to her community. She has served on the Historic & Architectural Review Commission for Telluride’s National Historic Landmark District for many years.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit

True North Youth Program: Art installation build workshop

This art installation build workshop took place in the Festival Founders yard on November 6 & 7, 2021. Eight teens signed up to create magic over two days with Chris Myers & Erin Ries. The sculpture was showcased at Resurrection on December 4th. And, transformed by fire like the other wood sculptures.
The True North Youth Program kids all attended the event for free.
This program was made possible in part by the generous support of Alpine Bank.
If you are with True North Youth Program and wish to participate in the October 1 & 2, 2022 workshop, email

A successful Beginner Welding Workshop

The Beginner Welding Workshop, like many other events, was canceled due to the pandemic this past December 2020. Through determination, a loyal following and an eager instructor, it was rescheduled for May 22 and 23 in an above ground nonworking mine at Deep Creek Experimental.

Nine people participated in the workshop. Four, ranging from 13 to 17 years of age—were sponsored by One-To-One Mentoring. Several adults from Telluride participated as well. All materials and safety equipment were supplied to the students, they just needed to show up ready to create.

The students learned the process of creating a steel fire art project from scratch using reclaimed materials. Dan taught the basics of shop safety, welding basics, metal manipulation, and how to add fire elements. Materials on the first day. The students collaborated on the creation of a fire sculpture out of steel and added propane elements to the finished project, which will be on display at the 2021 event.

Not only did the group produce a collaborative work of art including flame effects, but also separate welded sculptures for themselves. Fiery Fluffy was the name given the team creation. The students tossed their name into a hat to give all a fair chance to win the group created flaming art installation, and 13 year-old Sebastian Santa Ana was the winner.

About the instructor
Dan Gundrum of Home Technology Group and Pivotal Effects taught the two-day class. Dan, a member of Deep Creek Experimental explains his craft in this way, “I look at the world and what inspires art. It stems from my impulsive desire to observe life from a different perspective. When something can be influenced in that altered perspective, art happens. That influence can be something as simple as clicking the shutter or making that grind. Pushing the boundaries of that influence makes something entirely new. Something that can transport the viewer into that altered perspective.” Says Dan, “I love teaching this class for the Festival. The reward is seeing the smiles and creativity”.

Student sculptures premiered at The Mine event in 2018

November 2017, youth from three counties met in Telluride for the 2nd two-day STEAM program involving five educational themes. Local artist Dan Gundrum along with visiting artists Brent Cain and Andy McKim were the facilitators for the students at the Deep Creek Experimental artists enclave known as The Mine and the Ah Haa School for the Arts.

The results of their fabulous and fiery collaboration could be seen during the 2018
MountainFilm at the Deep Creek Experimental evening event.

The two sculptures also premiered in Gunnison at Coldharbour Institute’s Midsummer’s Eve
Celebration in July 2018. Many of the Gunnison
students were present at
the July event.

Telluride Fire Festival & Burning Man Global Art Grant Application

The Festival is pleased to announce the recent invitation to submit a full proposal to Burning Man Global Art Grants for our interactive, community-driven sculpture for Telluride. The Festival is partnering with Dan Gundrum and Angela Watkins‘ Telluride High School students. The goal is to create a sculpture that will be on permanent display in Telluride for all to enjoy.

Sculpture title: Listen To Mother Earth…She’s Speaking To Us!

The sculpture will be created with found objects/scrap metal and have interactive elements for people to touch/move/push. Artists, donors, and grantors will be listed on signage at the sculpture site.

If you have an interest in supporting this community-based project or want to participate in it’s creation, please email

The full proposal will be submitted February 15 and applicants will be notified by April 1, 2018.