Lots of news this week from the Lyons Community Library, mostly good, but let’s start with the bad. Due to the increasing cases of COVID in Boulder County, and even in Lyons, the library staff and board have decided to stop all in-person visits and provide only curbside pickup. It just seems too dangerous right now for our staff and too much potential to spread the virus. Your library will continue to provide books via online checkout or over the phone for curbside pickup. You can also still send print jobs, have access to faxing, pick up take-and-make craft kits, schedule remote tech support, and have items notarized. You just can’t come into the library to browse or use the computers. We hope to soon return to in-person access to the library.
The good news, though, is that there will soon be a new seven-foot-tall bear in town on the northwest corner of 4th and Railroad Streets, next to the library. Well-known local artist Anita Miller created this new sculpture and donated it to the library.
“I had an urge to sculpt a bear on a rock,” she says. “I used oil-based clay and sculpted a small bear, eight inches high. But the bear looked lonely, so I added a kid in the bear’s lap. And, he looked like he needed a book in his hand.”
Anita then took her small sculpture to be scanned and used it to create the seven-foot tall version in foam using a 3-D printer. She then used a sculptable concrete-like material called Pal Tiya to create the bear and child. This material was created for outdoor sculptures and has proven durable for many public art projects. Anita covered the foam first with a thin scratch coat, and then a final coat of Pal Tiya ½-inch to 1-1/2-inches thick. Pal Tiya has a working time of about 15 minutes, which meant she had to work quickly. Her husband served as her assistant, mixing the material in small 5-cup batches.
“In 24 hours the Pal Tiya is the consistency of balsa wood; 48 hours it’s oak; after a week it’s stone. It has fiber threads in it that can make the surface a little hairy. You can burn those off with a torch but for the bear I just left them,” said Miller.
The bear is currently nameless, but we hope to solve that with a contest to name the bear. Keep an eye out for how to enter!
Anita Miller is best known for her sculpture Silent Battle, which was inspired by an army veteran of the Iraq war who was struggling with thoughts of suicide and depression. She promised to create the sculpture and dedicate it to him if he would promise not to injure himself—both kept their promise. The sculpture is now part of a touring memorial called Eyes of Freedom which helps Iraq war veterans deal with depression and suicidal thoughts.
The story of how the sculpture came about was the basis of a documentary by 9News in Denver called The Promise. (link: https://bit.ly/38vISNy) The documentary provided a means for a conversation on the importance of human connection and persistence in the fight against the high rates of suicide among our veterans and service members.
Anita’s art can also be seen next to the pedestrian bridge, on the west end of Bohn Park. Her bronze sculpture there, a collaboration with James Moore, called the Bell of Remembrance, is dedicated to the losses of the 2013 flood and the following hopeful emergence. More of her art can be seen at www.anitamillerartist.com.
One last note concerning the library and its board. The Lyons Regional Library District is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees. Each trustee’s term is limited, though, so the Board is seeking community members who live within the district boundaries to serve. Sure, this is a commitment of time and knowledge and a responsibility, but also an opportunity to participate in an essential community institution and to guide the Library’s and our community’s future.
We would love to hear from any District resident who wants to help ensure that the Library fulfills its mission, sustains its values, and appropriately balances its obligations to the community’s current and future generations. Consider joining us! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (773) 494-4619.