Green Mountain Falls’ Green Box art fest to showcase “Cloud City”

“There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle,” says Christian Keesee, founder of the Green Box Arts Festival, about moving Tomás Saraceno’s massive interactive sculpture, “Cloud City,” a sculpture he owns, from the rooftop of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to the foothills of Pikes Peak this month.Keesee, a businessman, avid art collector and art promoter, is speaking literally. “Cloud City” is the centerpiece of this year’s Green Box, a low-key, 11-day event that began in 2009.

Green Box started small and has become an important fixture in Green Mountain Falls’ summer calendar. This year, the festival is “dedicated to the courageous men and women who so bravely fought last year’s fires,” Keesee says, ” and kept them away from our beloved Green Mountain Falls.”

This tiny trailhead of a town, which sits 15 miles west of Colorado Springs, has three restaurants, a bar, a coffee shop, a public lake and park, a post office and a church. Its main attraction is the system of hiking trails accessible by walking up the hill from the main drag.

“Cloud City” will stand out.

Visitors will be encouraged to enter the sculpture and explore its 16 interconnected, habitat-like aluminum modules, constructed of transparent and reflective surfaces.

“Cloud City,” says Keesee, “was overwhelming in New York on the Met rooftop, and I look forward to its temperament change as it is surrounded by nature and the natural environment.”

Which, of course, is the whole point of the Green Box Arts Festival — giving artists and art aficionados a peaceful, mountain setting to visit, enjoy and explore the creative.

In addition to the sculpture, Green Box has a robust schedule of classes, youth activities, jewelry making, creative movement, drawing and painting, as well as live performances by the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, Haunted Wind Chimes and Kyle Dillingham. There also will be a dance showcase by New York City-based Keigwin + Company and a roundtable discussion with author and Pulitzer Prize nominee Blake Bailey.

But before all of that happens, “Cloud City” has a big trip to take. Keesee says it will be “a complicated piece of art to move,” requiring eight flatbed, extra-wide trailers and one box truck to transport the piece the nearly 2,000 miles from New York to Green Mountain Falls, where it will be met by six installation techs, three engineering firms and one crane.

Then it will be time to reassemble the puzzle.

— Joshua Berman is the author of “Moon Nicaragua” and “Moon Belize.” He can be found on the Web at JoshuaBerman.net and on Twitter @tranquilotravel. This piece originally appeared in his column for the denver post.

GREEN BOX ARTS FESTIVAL. Green Box will offer visitor access to “Cloud City” in Green Mountain Falls, in Pikes Peak foothills, from 1-7 p.m. June 23-July 13. The festival also seeks volunteers. For a full schedule of events, classes and volunteer registration, visit greenboxarts.org.

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