Remember That $2M Sculpture At DIA? Here’s Why It Cost That Much

Photo: 'Shadow Array' DIA Sculpture By Patrick Marold (From Above)
Denver International Airport commissioned "Shadow Array" by Colorado artist Patrick Marold for more than $2 million.

Last month, we introduced you to some new installations at Denver International Airport as part of our ongoing look at public art in Colorado, how it's funded and the impact it has on communities.

That story led us to artist Patrick Marold. In 2013, DIA commissioned Marold to do a piece of public art for the airport's Westin Hotel and the Transit Center. So he created "Shadow Array," which features 236 logs that came from trees killed by beetles in Colorado’s Rio Grande National Forest.

Some of you shared some interesting comments in response to this story. One common question we got was: Why did "Shadow Array" cost more than $2 million?

So we asked Marold. Here is the artist's estimated break down of his budget.

Photo: Break Down Of 'Shadow Array' Budget (Table)
A breakdown of costs associated with Patrick Marold's "Shadow Array" sculpture at DIA.

So that's how it shakes out. But, the artist points out, there's more to the value of art than the money that funds it:

I would encourage you to expose the value of public art, and how it not only provides an enriching aesthetic component in our communities, but also builds on the fabrication and creative industries. These projects are more than a monetary exchange for a physical work of art. Public art provides a necessary component in our cultural vitality. While it is not a perfect system and needs to continually be refined, it also needs to be protected from commercial pressures that can corrupt the fundamental reasons for art.

Here are some other stats on Marold's sculpture:

  • The total budget for "Shadow Array" was $2,016,000.
  • More than 80 percent was spent in Colorado, according to Marold.
  • The only major out-of-state expense was for the lighting fixtures made by a Canadian company. Marold used them to design a system that makes the angle of the lights move at night.
  • Marold spent around $300,000 on payroll for a team of 18 employees.
  • The artist worked with Rocky Mountain Timber Products of Del Norte, Colorado. The company delivered nearly 270 logs to the processing site that Marold leased in Watkins.
  • The processing and production phase lasted about 18 months, from the arrival of the logs to the final cuts.
  • The site preparation -- which included surveying, excavating, pouring concrete and erecting structural steel components -- took about five months.
  • Installation of the sculpture lasted about two weeks in September.
  • The sculpture spans seven acres that surround the train platform at DIA.

"With all of my commissioned works, I take great care in managing the budget efficiently and responsibly," Marold told CPR News. "And the 'Shadow Array' was of particular consequence due to the size of the budget and the dynamics of the project."

For more on Patrick Marold's "Shadow Array" and to find out who pays for public art at DIA, click here. If you see a piece of public art in your community that you're curious to know more about, snap a photo and email it our way along with your thoughts. We may just look into it.