The necessity to remove a 50-foot pine tree and the desire to have a public art piece in front of the Thornton Arts & Culture Center resulted in the city’s newest art piece.
“Because of the buildup of ice in the winter and needles and branches in the summer causing a safety issue on the entrance steps, we were forced to consider removing the tree at the front of the building,” said Linda Lowe, city of Thornton Arts and Volunteer coordinator.
Meanwhile, the Thornton Arts, Sciences and Humanities Council (TASHCO) was planning an art project for the front of the building, which is at 9209 Dorothy Blvd.
“The TASHCO Board wanted a way for the public to identify the variety of activities that are offered to the public and taking place in the building; art exhibits, musical, dance and theatrical performance as well as programs and exercise classes,” Lowe said.
Enter Faye Braaten of Loveland, an artist who specializes in creating art out of wood with her favorite art tool — a chainsaw, hence her nickname “Chainsaw Mama.”
It took Braaten one week in April to carve a 25-foot art piece, featuring a ballet dancer, drama masks and musical notes connected with a ribbon — to represent the cultural arts found inside the building.
“The tree was at a 45-degree angle, it was a lot of fun,” Braaten said. “The tree itself had great motion — a lot of leaning with curves. I hope this inspires more community pride.”
Braaten has done work for the city before — the “Train Conductor” piece on the Heritage Trail off York Street. Lowe said Braaten gave the city a special price of $2,500 because of its public location. She said the city is seeking funding from the TASHCO Board.
“We have had such a positive response from the community members who watched the process that we wanted to include them in the naming of the piece,” Lowe said.
The city will take naming suggestions until 5 p.m. Friday, May 9. You can submit an entry in person at the Thornton Arts & Culture Center, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; send an email to or mail your entry to Thornton Arts & Culture Center, 9209 Dorothy Blvd., Thornton CO 80229, ATTN: Sculpture Naming Contest. When submitting your entry, be sure to include your first and last name, phone number or email address and the suggested name of the sculpture.