Benches downtown add spice to Steamboat |

Benches downtown add spice to Steamboat

Unique benches highlight downtown

Luke Graham

A bench outside Carl's Tavern is one of four new benches in downtown Steamboat Springs.

— Walking around downtown Steamboat Springs now will have a little different meaning for Melissa Trueblood and Sarah Tiedeken.

The two Vertical Arts Architecture employees have left a mark that isn't likely to go away.

Trueblood and Tiedeken were two of four designers on benches installed downtown in a project instituted by Mainstreet Steamboat and the 2013 Leadership Steamboat class.

Leadership Steamboat decided to create and install four benches in downtown Steamboat, along Lincoln Avenue and Yampa Street. The benches were sponsored by local businesses and designed and fabricated by local artists.

The four benches are located at Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue, Seventh and Lincoln, Sixth and Lincoln and Seventh and Yampa Street.

Trueblood, Tiedeken and Travis Mathey, from Vertical Arts Architecture, designed three of the benches. Artifact Furniture designed the fourth one.

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"It's the first mark I made on Steamboat with Vertical Arts with this project," Tiedeken said. "It gets everyone at the firm to improve the community. Especially being one of the newer members of the firm, I haven't had any projects come to fruition in Steamboat."

Each Leadership Steamboat class is tasked with completing a community project as part of the graduation project. Past projects have included the Steamboat Bike Guide and community garden.

Maggie Griffin, one of 11 members of this year's Leadership Steamboat group, said that the members wanted to make something that was lasting.

The 11-person group met and decided that doing something through art would be lasting and show off the personality of Steamboat.

They received more than 30 proposals before selecting the four.

"We went towards the idea of public art," Griffin said. "Our goal was to have it really represent the many facets of Steamboat."

Leadership Steamboat sent out proposals to local designers and firms with the idea of creating public benches. Designers were given key words to base their designs after such as ski jumping, Yampa River, fishing, biking, ranches and cattle, among others.

For Trueblood's design, she took into account biking. Half of her project features a bench area where people can sit. On the other side is a place for people to park their bikes.

"Biking and cycling around here are huge," she said. "I wanted it to be multifunctional. I wanted it to be a place for bike parking and somewhere you could sit."

The other three benches include a circular bench, one that is an abstract version of a ski jumper's aerodynamic form during flight and another that is a steel bench designed after the Yampa River.

"The whole concept of the project was something that influenced Steamboat a lot," said Tiedeken, who designed the steel bench. "Of course, you think of the river. I wanted to incorporate that and something that was really slick and free form. Seeing it installed is the best part. I've told all my friends and family how excited I am and that they have to see these."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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