Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Chuska Puma and Pumas on Parade

The "Chuska Puma" is a life size mountain lion sculpture in a life like pose painted with Four Corners black on white pottery and rock art designs.

The Puma was on display in the meeting room of the Anasazi Heritage Center near Dolores, CO. In spring 2011 it was moved outdoors to the wildflower bed area. It is part of Pumas On Parade, a public art for public land awareness project by the San Juan Mountains Association. The designs seem to be based on a particular large pot and three petroglyphs. Mountain sheep designs on the lion’s side are relatively common.

The humanoid figure on the back of the neck appears to be the one at the Moab Golf Course panel that is known as ”Moab Man”. The lion figure on the chest seems like a rare one to find. The place to look for it is at Petrified Forest National Park. Ask the ranger at the Painted Desert Inn at the north end of the park. The sculpture was donated to the Heritage Center by the Kinder Morgan CO2 gas company. Hikers in the Canyons of the Ancients area will recognize their contributions to road maintenance in the wilder areas.

There was a Mountain Lion exhibit showing at the Center for Southwest Studies on the campus of Ft. Lewis College from fall 2009 to fall 2010. One of the Pumas on Parade is on display near the exhibit. It appears that there are about 17 Pumas as part of the project.

The next closest to the Chuska Puma is the brilliant blue “Sky Prowler”. I saw it at the Colorado Welcome Center in Cortez, CO. In 2011 this puma might have changed location to the Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez.

There are three Pumas in Mancos, CO. Start at the Mancos Town Hall 117 North Main and find “Leave No Footprints”. This puma is positioned to be best viewed through the large picture window from the sidewalk. On each side the Mesa Verde Cliff Palace is depicted and Lookout Point is on the chest. The painting features a sandy texture.

A short walk to the Mancos Community Center at 130 Grand Avenue finds the puma named “Paradise Found”. This puma is also positioned to be best viewed from the sidewalk through a large window. The theme is the plight of modern wildlife, with a pristine Ute Mountain Park on the sidewalk side and an industrial and traffic scene on the other side.

La Diosa de las Flores” is decorated with Colorado wildflowers and was displayed at the Valley Inn Nursing Home at 211 3rd Avenue on the north side of Highway 160.  In 2011 it might be re-located to the Mancos Welcome Center that is visible on Highway 160.

One of the Pumas is in Moab, Utah. “Puma Ranch Estates” is located at 217 East Center in an outdoors setting that makes viewing all sides easy. This location is across the street from the Moab Museum which features displays on the natural and human history of the Moab area. The Puma design appears to show a land subdivision plan surrounded by some artistic designs.

The “Radiant Cat” is one of the most colorful of the Pumas on Parade. It is outside of the Durango Herald Building at 1275 Main Avenue in Durango, CO. This site is a short walk from the Animas River Trail near the Durango Discovery Museum. In 2011, the puma that was nearby at the Alpine Bank on Main has been relocated.

Soaring Raven Cat” sits outside the For the Birds store at 2560 East 2nd Avenue in Durango, CO. Keeping with the For the Birds location; two Ravens are positioned on or flying near the blue cat. This puma is across the street from the Animas River Trail as it passes through Rotary Park.

San Puma de Las Animas y La Plata” is in the small lobby of the Tech Center Plaza building. The turn off from Highway 160 onto Tech Center Drive is a short distance west of the junction of Highways 160 and 550 in the Durango, CO. area. The address of the Tech Center Plaza is 10 Burnett Court. There is a right turn then a left turn from Tech Center Drive.

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