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Stephen Batura's "Winter Crossing" is back on track at RTD

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"Winter Crossing"
We've been profiling RTD's public-art pieces on our Show and Tell blog, and on Monday, the series reached"Winter Crossing," the stunning mural by Denver artist Stephen Batura that hung at Union Station for a decade -- and then disappeared when the historic facility was closed for major renovations. "RTD removed the work more than a year ago," Batura told us, "but there are questions about how it was dismantled and where the piece is currently at."

Now, we've got answers.

After talking with Batura, we contacted Sage Hospitality, a partner in the Union Station Alliance that is redeveloping the station. And while Sage doesn't yet know if there will be a spot for the piece when the station reopens next summer, folks there assure us that Batura's mural is safe and sound at an RTD storage facility.

That's not the only item that was taken out of Union Station for safe-keeping. RTD's Richard Rost oversees the collection, which includes everything from electronic gear to doors to the signage that led to the tracks to, yes, "Winter Crossing." Rost sent photos of everything in storage to Sage, so that the developer could keep the pieces in mind while working on the redesign of the station, which will include everything from a hotel to shops to a half-dozen restaurants.

Dana Crawford of Urban Neighborhoods and the Union Station Alliance says she hopes to see "Winter Crossing" back in Union Station when it reopens in 2014. In fact, she'd like to see many former pieces from the station brought back and restored to their original splendor.

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Artist Stephen Batura.
Here's the back story on "Winter Crossing": Over a decade ago, there was an earlier renovation project that focused on the tunnel that connected the station to the trains; Batura won a commission to create a piece for the area at the top of the tunnel, and RTD installed "Winter Crossing" there in 2002.

"I usually work from historical photographs, and I spent weeks poring over the digital archives at the Denver Public Library. I didn't know what I was looking for exactly, but something dramatic and unusual," he recalls. "The original black-and-white photograph was taken in 1951 by Robert W. Richardson. DPL approved the use of the image, which I mechanically cropped and stretched. Then, I did various color studies before beginning the mural."

Here's a photo taken of the finished mural by RTD, before it put the piece in storage.

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Wouldn't the real thing look great back in the renovated Union Station? Follow the project's progress on the Union Station Alliance page.

More from the Calhoun Wake-Up Call archive: "Once again, state tourism boosters have gone back to the drawing board."


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