Zoe Yabrove has been profiling RTD's public-art pieces, and this Monday, her series reached"Winter Crossing," the stunning mural by Denver artist Stephen Batura that hung at Union Station for a decade -- and then disappeared when the historic facility was closed for major renovations. "RTD removed the work more than a year ago," Batura told her, "but there are questions about how it was dismantled and where the piece is currently at."
Now we have answers.
After talking with Batura, we contacted Sage Hospitality, a partner in the Union Station Alliance that is redeveloping the station. And while Sage doesn't yet know if there will be a spot for the piece when the station reopens next summer, folks there assure us that Batura's mural is safe and sound at an RTD storage facility.
Stephen Batura won a commission to create a piece for an earlier renovation project at the station, which focused on improving the tunnel that connected the station to the trains. "I usually work from historical photographs, and I spent weeks poring over the digital archives at the Denver Public Library. I didn't know what I was looking for exactly, but something dramatic and unusual," he recalls. "The original black-and-white photograph was taken in 1951 by Robert W. Richardson. DPL approved the use of the image, which I mechanically cropped and stretched. Then, I did various color studies before beginning the mural."
The mural was installed in 2002, and remained up for the next ten years before it was removed for safe-keeping.
And it's not the only piece from Union Station that RTD has in storage, According to RTD's Richard Rost, the collection includes everything from electronic gear to doors to the signage that led to the tracks to, yes, "Winter Crossing." Rost sent photos of everything in storage to Sage, so that the developer could keep the pieces in mind while working on the redesign of the station, which will include everything from a hotel to shops to a half-dozen restaurants.
Historian and developer Dana Crawford, who runs Urban Neighborhoods and is part of the Union Station Alliance, says she hopes to see "Winter Crossing" back in Union Station when it reopens. In fact, she adds, she'd like to see many former pieces from the station brought back and restored to their original splendor.
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The project is slated for completion next summer. A version of this story appeared yesterday on our Latest Word blog.