Grand Junction sculpture

In Colorado, the cities, towns, foothills, and mountains east of the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains spanning north to south are referred to as the Front Range. The Western Slope covers the mountains, towns, and more desert-like landscape west of the divide. An artist friend recently moved to the Western Slope and invited me to visit. A destination for a road trip!

My friend lives in an area of the state that I hadn’t visited before. It’s just south of Grand Mesa, a huge, long plateau over 11,000 ft. Wikipedia calls it the largest flat-topped mountain in the world! Years ago, my second husband and I camped and hiked on the mesa for five days. It was the site of the story we often told about the beans that wouldn’t cook. We boiled them every night for hours at that high altitude to make chili, and finally ate them crunchy the last night.

Rather than drive over the mesa, where the roads are winding, steep, and were still snowy in mid-April, I drove west on the interstate highway, turning south at Grand Junction. The city is named for the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers. Although I had passed it en route to elsewhere countless times, I had never gone into town. The temperature was nearing 80F; I changed my shoes to sandals and shed my jacket. My first stop was an art gallery to see the Monuments and Canyons show, reflective of the area’s scenery, where a couple of friends exhibited paintings.

Art Center gallery

I met another friend, a resident in Junction, as it’s called, for lunch. When I parked downtown, I had trouble getting the parking meter to take my credit card. Three people were passing by, so I asked them if they knew how this worked. A young man reached into his pocket and dropped a few coins in the meter! The locals are kind.

There are over one hundred sculptures throughout the downtown area. I only saw a fraction of them along Main Street. Many of these have a story to tell, but I didn’t stay long enough to learn them, except for a few that had plaques.

A few notable Grand Junction residents

Dalton Trumbo, blacklisted screenwriter
Chet and Vernie Enstrom, candy makers
Vernie Enstrom
Walter Walker, newspaper publisher
Sister Mary Farrell
Rex Howell, radio broadcaster

Street scenes

More to come…
Western Slope road trip: Grand Junction sculpture, Dominguez Canyon, Fruitgrowers Reservoir, Western Slope towns, Colorado National Monument

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

44 thoughts on “Grand Junction sculpture

  1. Wow, there’s quite a wide variety of sculptures! I really like the apple (or what’s left of it 😉) and the murals are all so beautiful. I can only imagine how much fun it must be to walk around here with a camera!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad that you stopped in our neck of the woods for a visit. You have such an eye for capturing the essence of an area. So impressive. I really enjoyed our visit. It was great seeing you, my friend.

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  3. Such a quirky town, I love the wide variety of the sculptures and many that are fun because they’re so unexpected, like the gorillas. Funny story about the beans that wouldn’t cook. Oh the joys of cooking at altitude 😊 Maggie

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  4. I really like the look of this town! All those varied sculptures and colourful street art. Of the former the gorillas are my favourite, and of the latter I was especially drawn to the geisha-like woman 😀

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    1. I agree about the lovely geisha mural, and also the indigenous (probably Hopi) dancers. The gorillas made me laugh, as did the apple core. I also liked Trumbo writing in his bathtub, apparently inspired by a photo of him doing so.

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  5. For all our years living in Colorado I was surprised we happened on “Junction” only recently, on a return driving trip from California. The heart of downtown is off the beaten path so I can see why travelers overlook it. Unexpectedly, our overnight hotel was right downtown. We enjoyed breakfast at a local coffee shop the next morning and walked around a bit before we had to hit the road again. There’s more to this somewhat dusty town than meets the eye, including all of the art.

    My favorite piece: the simple twisted iron branches suspending the large rock, outside the Robin’s Nest antique shop. Looks like a nose!

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  6. I loved visiting Grand Junction about 10 years ago. We went two years in a row when my husband was leading field trips in Geology in neighboring Moab and surrounds. Thank you for the memory, Ruth!

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  7. I’ve heard of sculpture hunting in some cities which are known for its sculptures, but I’ve never really done so myself during my travels– but it must’ve been a lot of fun running all over town in Grand Junction to see them all! Definitely a change of pace and activity compared to the hikes in nature and the beauty surrounding it!

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  8. I remember some of those sculptures, but certainly not that many! We were there in June, so super boiling hot, and it was during COVID, so the downtown was open, but largely deserted. It was kinda depressing actually. I’m hoping and guessing it has been revived now.

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  9. What an incredibly charming and characterful place. I love touring a town or city and crossing off the sculptures and statues. I was wondering what a statue of Trumbo was doing in the city and was curious to read that he went to school there. Later, his first book ‘Eclipse’ was an obvious portrayal of the town and and its people, and not always flattering! As such, it created quite the controversy locally. I’m glad to see they haven’t held it against him and that his history is honoured there. Love the guy paying for your metre, how kind.

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