Casper artist plans public art commemorating Wyoming wind

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Wind is a part of life in Wyoming, and especially in Casper. To commemorate the force of nature, Chris Navarro and the Platte River Trails Trust are working together to create a public art monument.

“We’ve just kind of put both feet in and off we go, so we’re hoping that we can get this Wind Cathedral work funded, and we hope to get it in as quickly as possible right here east of the Pump House,” said Platte River Trails Trust Executive Director Angela Emery.

The idea for the sculpture was sparked after Navarro saw news coverage of wind turbine blades being disposed of at the Casper Solid Waste Facility. Navarro is known for his large bronze sculptures, and wanted to use the blades to create in a new medium.

“I thought you know that’s a lot of material to throw away maybe I can make something with it and my artist mind started kicking around these ideas and making these abstract sculptures,” said Navarro.

After they are no longer being used, wind turbine blades must be cut into smaller pieces to be transported to landfills where they are buried. Blades are constructed to last for 20 to 25 years, and older style blades were not designed with recycling in mind.

The Platte River Trails sculpture, Wind Cathedral, will use 12 blades to create an A frame that people using the trail can pass under. The design was inspired by Navarro’s work with the Air Force Academy and a cathedral he visited while there.

“What’s cool is you’re going to be able to walk through this sculpture, so you’re going to be able to interact with it. You’re going to touch it, walk through it, and it’s going to be at least 35 feet tall and I’m thinking 86 feet long,” said Navarro.

One hope Navarro has is that once the sculpture is made, it will inspire others to find other ways to repurpose wind turbine blades.

Navarro plans to complete the Platte River Trails project before the end of October. He said he expects to complete the work in only three days. He has proposed a different wind turbine blade sculpture, Windhenge, to the Casper City Council, and says he is in talks with the City of Cheyenne on another wind-inspired project.

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