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Let’s Talk About It: Is Pueblo a ‘Gateway to the Southwest’ or a Destination?

Large Leaving Colorful Colorado Wooden Roadside Highway Sign on a Sunny Day

If art is supposed to generate conversation, what Ken and Judith Williams managed to provoke was a conversation on public art with intention of public improvements – this is no small accomplishment.

The City of Pueblo, along with help from private donations intends to build two 40-foot structures to tower over the Dillon Drive Bridge to serve as a “Gateway to the Southwest.”

The artwork is the signature Williams’ design, bold colors and a seemingly physic-bending brick design. Here Ken, Judith and Gwyn Williams’ work symbolizes the interchange of the Southwest — from the pioneers and Indigenous peoples, to farming and industry, these differing cultures are all mixed together as a statement and in some part intention to say that Pueblo is slowly waking up its needs to be something more to the outside.

And that something more, after the announcement of the project was made, was met with both compliments and complaints. That in itself is remarkable for a town that views city design as a tax paid by taking money suspiciously from vital programs and giving it to arts and culture entities. It’s a false narrative of course, but the fact the Williams’ design spurred on ire and awe could be as much of an achievement as building the installation.

Somehow “Gateway” struck something deeper in Pueblo...

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