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Bringing it Home

Mountain Forge installs music-themed sculpture in Brickelltown
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After stops at Guitarfish Festival, the Lost Sierra Hoedown, Burning Man, and blacksmith conferences in Salt Lake City and Petaluma, a whimsical and swooping four-person sculpture is taking its last waltz in Truckee as the town’s new public art installation.

Currently, the sculpture is nicknamed “the band,” although its official name will be unveiled on a plaque in the coming weeks.

The idea for the sculpture was born when Truckee-based blacksmith shop Mountain Forge was commissioned to build a public art sculpture for a San Francisco’s skyscraper located at 535 Mission Street. Boston Properties, the property company responsible for the development, gave Mountain Forge complete poetic license for their design; the only objective was to create something that excited and engaged the public. Anton “Toni” Standteiner, son of company founder Hans Standteiner, felt inspired to pay respect to San Francisco's musical heritage.

Over a two-year brainstorming process that started in November 2014, the family-run shop — which also built Shane McConkey’s eagle at the top of KT-22 and the sculpture at the Truckee Tahoe Airport — developed the idea for The Band, an art installation piece, standing at 13 feet tall and geared toward bringing movement and color to the urban San Francisco environment. As the company finalized the design — made of silicon bronze, stainless steel, cartridge brass, and copper — Toni created a prototype before completing the final piece in San Francisco.

After the installation of The Band in San Francisco in 2014, the Standteiner family took the four-piece prototype “on tour.” When the tour wrapped up it was time to find a permanent home for the smaller-scale musical gang.

“I’ve got these sculptures and they were designed right here in Truckee, they were born here in Truckee, I think it would be great if they stayed here in Truckee,” Toni said. He thought that with all the new development happening in Truckee, the prototypes belonged in his hometown and the family also believes that music should have more visibility in town.

“The band represents a part of our community that is often not represented,” said Jennifer Standteiner, Toni's wife and co-owner of Mountain Forge. “It draws in another cultural aspect of the community, another audience.”

To get the sculpture approved, Toni approached the town engineer Dan Wilkins. Together, they brainstormed different locations that could abide by sidewalk and snow removal plans. They finally settled on Brickelltown upon the belief that the sculptures would draw people to the northern end of downtown Truckee, while also blocking the railroad. The Truckee Town Council approved the installation with Mountain Forge donating $45,000 of the total project costs and the Town paying $15,000 for the labor and materials required to stylize the piece for the location.

During a test public viewing last fall, the sculptures received positive feedback and approval from the community. Thus the band was permanently installed at its new Brickelltown home in May.

Mountain Forge, a traditional family-run blacksmith shop, has been operating out of Truckee for 46 years by the longtime Squaw family, the Standteiners. When Hans moved from Austria to Squaw Valley to be a ski coach for the 1960 Olympics, he established a small blacksmith shop on the banks of the Truckee River. Today, Mountain Forge does architectural ironwork for homes and in recent years embarked on working more in the public art realm. The blacksmith shop assisted Troy Corliss of Gallery 5830 with The Mountain Flower sculptures in the rec center roundabout and produced the Alpine Meadows sign on Hwy 89.

 
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September 14, 2017