A New Light-up Sculpture Installation at UCCS Operates on Wind Energy

Nights near the UCCS campus will be a little brighter this year thanks to a new sculpture installation that combines wind energy and LED lights.

The Windmill Project, an installation of 2,000 eight-foot posts with downlights activated by wind power, went up in mid-October near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs’ Ent Center for the Arts, at the base of Austin Bluffs. The sculpture was created by local artist Patrick Marold, whose focuses include using renewable energy in art. Marold has numerous sculptures up throughout the Denver area, including “The Shadow Array” beetle-kill log sculpture outside the Denver International Airport hotel and the steel fence sculpture between City Park and the Denver Zoo.

Patrick Marold, The Windmill Project

Denver artist Patrick Marold. Photo courtesy of Marold

The Windmill Project is on display as part of the Art WithOut Limits project at UCCS’s Galleries of Contemporary Art, with the project curated by Daisy McGowan. It is also connected to The Space(s) Between exhibition, a partnership between GOCA and the Vicky Myhren Gallery.

Marold’s installation is free and open 24/7 to the public, who can view the installation up close or from afar as the wind creates a wave of light across the installation each night. The project has traveled to different sites around the world and will stay at UCCS for around a year, with the exact timeline depending on several factors including the weather.

Now that the sculpture is up and running, 303 Magazine sat down with Marold to talk about the windmills and the 20-year journey that brought them to UCCS.

Patrick Marold, The Windmill Project

The installation at UCCS. Photo by Patrick Marold

303 Magazine: What led to your love of sculpture design and using the medium to change perspectives?

Patrick Marold: I grew up outside of Denver and later studied at the Rhode Island School of Design — I went to school to be a painter but I was interested early on in how we interact with our environment, so I think where I ended up, in retrospect, makes a lot of sense. Later on, I had a Fulbright (Fellowship) in Iceland that allowed me to really develop my interest further with the support of that grant.

The installation when it was in Vail. Photo by Patrick Marold

303: After creating art around the world, what brought you back to Colorado?

PM: I landed back in Denver probably 20 years ago; I have family here, and I know Colorado. I know this region, and the environment and my surroundings are such a component of how I create. I’m always on the periphery of the Denver arts scene — I’ve never been totally integrated with a co-op and I kind of stick to my own studio. I’m just continually as an artist trying to enhance our perception of where we are. I’m a fortunate artist that I get to keep doing this.

303: What is The Windmill Project all about?

PM: The sculpture is about watching wind and engaging with that evening landscape. Twenty years ago, I did the first prototype of this sculpture when I was in Iceland. It was in Kjos, Iceland and that was the winter of 2000. Since then, they were in Vail, I’ve taken them to Vermont, they were in the Mile High Music Festival — they’ve been in a lot of different situations, which has been very rewarding to me. Each location they go to really does provide particular characteristics and conditions unique to that site. At this site, the access is fantastic in terms of the public being able to walk up to them, and to the west, there’s the city. This is one of my favorite sites; the Galleries of Contemporary Art was really enthusiastic about it.

To learn more about The Windmill Project near UCCS, visit Communique, the university’s news publication.