COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A giant blue picture frame that suddenly appeared at Garden of the Gods this week is here to stay until 2018, despite calls from angry residents in the area to remove the installation.
Intended to promote the City of Colorado Springs as Olympic City USA, the frame was “erected as a whimsical and fun way for residents and tourists alike to share the beauty” of the city, officials told our ABC-affiliate KRDO-TV.
The 12-foot-tall frame, which was drilled into rock in a small corner of parking lot 9, was donated by construction company GE Johnson, but the idea of having the blue frame installed at Garden of the Gods was first brought up by the wife of Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers back in February during a Parks and Recreation board meeting, KRDO-TV reported.
Hoping the blue frame would draw visitors to the area so they could share their memories of Garden of the Gods, the frame instead drew heavy criticism from the community who have called for its removal. At the time of this publishing, a Change.org petition had collected more than 15,000 signatures calling on the city to "Remove the ugly Blue Frame from Garden of the Gods."
“The Garden of the Gods means more than a cheesy hashtag marketing campaign,” Brian McCarrie, the author of the Change.org petition wrote as part of a letter to be sent to 11 decision makers in the Colorado Springs area, including the Mayor and the City of Colorado Springs. “Trying to monetize the natural beauty of our landscape with a marketing campaign makes us look cheap and pathetic.”
Despite the backlash, city officials said the blue frame will remain at Garden of the Gods through the end 2018, after which “the location and installation will be re-evaluated.”
Similarities with South Africa’s Cape Town installation
The giant blue frame at the Garden of Gods resembles an art installation that recently went up in South Africa's port city of Cape Town.
City officials there installed several yellow frames this September to capture the beauty of Table Mountain, a natural world heritage site, “from every angle,” according to African Travel Desk.
The purpose of that project was to “help tourists to take the best of this monument, but also to remind to the local people the beauty of their Mother City,” the tourism website states.