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It’s Not Necessarily The End Of The Trail For The Breckenridge Troll

Jenise Jensen
Breckenridge Creative Arts
Approximately 12,000 people visited the outdoor installation 'Isak Heartstone' this summer during Breckenridge's International Festival of Arts. Interest was expected to die down in the ensuing months but hasn't.

Update: 1:40 p.m., Thursday, 11/15/18: The sculpture “Isak Heartstone” has been dismantled. Officials with Breckenridge Creative Arts said the major components of the art work have been saved and are being stored in the hopes that it can be reinstalled or reimagined at another location.

It may not be over for the Breckenridge troll.

The Breckenridge Town Council has voted to dismantle the popular -- but controversial -- outdoor art installation due to concerns about public safety. However, both the artist and Breckenridge Creative Arts -- which commissioned the $40,000 piece “Isak Heartstone” -- are now looking at ways to keep the 15-foot wooden sculpture.

Officials with the arts organization, known locally as BreckCreate, said they are hopeful there is a way to work with town officials and the artist, Thomas Dambo, to re-install the piece somewhere else or possibly reimagine it in a different way.

Credit Photo by Jenise Jensen / Courtesy of Breckenridge Creative Arts
Courtesy of Breckenridge Creative Arts
The winter weather has exacerbated concerns about safety around the sculpture, which is meant to be interactive. However officials said while people climbing on it is expected, it is not encouraged.

“People love this artwork and it has brought so many visitors to town, it has enlivened our community in so many ways,” said BreckCreate President and CEO Robb Woulfe. “So we certainly don’t want this story to end on a negative note, but we also have to be responsible and understand there are some real challenges with this.”

Since its installation this summer for Breckenridge’s International Festival of Arts, the temporary sculpture on the Wellington Trail has continued to draw hundreds of daily visitors, causing concerns from residents of a nearby neighborhood about traffic and littering.

With the winter weather, there’s the additional safety concern over people slipping and falling, Woulfe said. The sculpture is meant to be interactive so people climbing on it is expected, although not encouraged.

In a Facebook post, Dambo wrote of his disappointment with the decision to take down the sculpture.

"I think it’s incredible that a pile of scrap wood can create so many feelings, experiences and emotions, and I think it teaches us how important it is to recycle and not just discard the materials and products we use," he stated. "But because of this, I also think it would be a disaster if all the time, love and effort put in to building this giant, friendly troll would go to waste."

Dambo also asked people to help him find a new home for the sculpture by "sharing/tagging/commenting on" the post. One Fairplay resident created a GoFundMe campaign to raise $25,000 to relocate the sculpture to their town.

Credit Photo by Jenise Jensen / Courtesy of Breckenridge Creative Arts
Courtesy of Breckenridge Creative Arts
Made of reclaimed wood, 'Isak Heartstone' was designed by Danish artist Thomas Dambo to be a temporary installation that would withstand the elements for two to five years.

Woulfe said the de-installation process is expected to take place in the next few weeks as weather allows.  

Stacy was KUNC's arts and culture reporter from 2015 to 2021.
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