Saguache News – December 6

Sculptures Created at Youth Fire Art Workshop

What do you get when you combine one of the earth’s basic elements with youthful curiosity? Fire Art!


Ian Horn (right) and Ryker Poor (right) both students in Saguache, begin to assemble the head to the fire sculpture. Photo: Telluride Fire Festival

Saguache Today readers may remember the great success that local students demonstrated at last January’s “Telluride Fire Festival.” Add to that a life lesson about the satisfaction in seeing a project to completion, especially when it’s a beautiful piece of art that lights up the Colorado night sky, and you get students #OnFireForLearning!

Therefore it was good news to hear from Event Director Erin Ries with the Telluride Fire Festival about another program that allowed area youth, including Saguache students, to be educated in fire artistry. Last month, 11 middle and high school students were hosted in Telluride to create not one, but two fire art masterpieces created out of found objects!

The weekend started off on Friday, Nov. 17 with a communal dinner giving them a chance to met with fellow students from Norwood and Gunnison. The next day, the group assembled at The Mine to brainstorm with instructors Dan Gundrum of Telluride, Brent Cain of Moab, and Andy McKim of Saguache. They collectively designed a two headed gargoyle like fire monster and dog-like companion.


The group celebrates their success with not one but two fire art masterpieces! Photo: Telluride Fire Festival.

All students were schooled in safety measures and given safety gloves, glasses, welding helmets and other protective gear. They had the opportunity to try their hand at welding as well as learn how to use a plasma cutter at The Mine with Dan Gundrum.

Andy McKim, the resident clay expert, lead another group of students at Ah Haa School for the Arts in the creation of four unusual, gargoyle-like feet for one of the sculptures along with fairy wings. Brent Cain transformed the two-headed sculpture with the addition of fire spewing out all sides of the “neck”.

Christian Arel and Ian Gonzalez-Basco, both Masters students in the Environmental Management Program at Western State University, also assisted the students.  Grants for the program of science, technology, engineering, art, and math, were received from Coldharbour Institute and Burners Without Borders. The program is made possible through a collaboration of these two organizations, in addition to Deep Creek Experimental, the Ah Haa School for the Arts, and Western State University.

Support through in-kind donations came from various Telluride businesses. In fact according to Executive Director of Coldharbour Institute, Suzanne Ewy, “We could not have executed this program without the tremendous generosity from the Telluride community.”


Saguache students Makayla Sisson (left) and Ryker Poor (right) sketch out their initial plans. Photo: Telluride Fire Festival.

About the Telluride Fire Festival, Coldharbour Institute, and Burners Without Borders. The Telluride Fire Festival, a 501c3 organization, works all year long to create programs that educate youth in fire artistry. Coldharbour Institute is a 501c3 organization in Gunnison that facilitates education, innovation, and demonstration in responsible living practices and ecological, social and economic sustainability. Its youth development initiative, SEED (sustainability, education, equity, diversity) whose students engaged in this program, links regional high school students to Western’s Environment and Sustainability program through students from Western’s Master in Environmental Management program and a very generous grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Christian Arel’s masters project is to develop SEED. For more information visit or contact Suzanne at

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