As an architect I am familiar with design competitions. Unfortunately the Boulder County 150th Anniversary Sculpture Project has become a case of political nepotism rather than a search for the best original sculpture for our courthouse plaza.
The competition prospectus “encourages artists to submit original proposals that reflect our county and its people and speaks to our residents”. There was to be one winner for the sculpture with a $20,000 budget. Now there are two “winners” and two locations. Only one sculpture is original. The hawk piece is a very common sculpture theme that can be purchased on-line for a lot less than $20,000. In fact if you Google ‘hawk sculptures’ you can find many examples of similar pieces to the one submitted by Joellen Domenico.
Beyond the merits of the art itself is the fact that the basis of the competition appears to have been changed to accommodate an artist with family connections to the county commissioners. All of the artist that invested time and money to submit must wonder if one or two of the commissioners didn’t decide to make sure a specific individual was a winner. Public design competitions shouldn’t have the slightest appearance of bias. This one clearly does.