ART In Vail Press Releases

Donation of Rod Kagan Sculptures

Donation of Rod Kagan Sculptures


Molly Eppard, Art in Public Places Coordinator
970.479.2344 /




Donation of Rod Kagan Sculptures
to Town of Vail Public Art Collection



(Vail, CO) - Art in Public Places (AIPP) recently accepted the donation of the sculpture installation titled “53” Birthday Series by the late Rod Kagan to the town’s public art collection. AIPP is extremely grateful for this generous donation from the artist’s estate and the introduction facilitated by Jim and Cookie Flaum, a former AIPP board member. Working with the artist’s nephew Andy Kagan, the works were delivered and installed at the in-town bus turnaround on Vail Valley Drive in proximity to the soccer fields this fall.

Rod Kagan (1940 – 2010) resided most of his life in Ketchum, Idaho after moving from New Jersey in 1973 to follow his love of the mountains. His home and studio in Ketchum immediately became the base for his creativity and sculpting in metal. Early in his career he worked primarily with iron and steel. Eventually Kagan honed his craft to perfect fabricating works from welded bronze sheets of metal. In 1978, Kagan created what would become his most iconic artistic style in the form of modern totems. He was inspired by the raw abandoned mines and the metals which shaped them. He was also greatly influenced by the history of the land, in particular the Native Americans and their connection to it which was reflected in his art.

“53” Birthday Series is comprised of three totem-like sculptures. The basic forms are welded together creating a contemporary interpretation of the totem. The juxtaposed shapes and forms are balanced as they tower above the landscape. The open spaces at the top of each totem offer a keyhole view beyond to the mountains. As you move around the installation, the landscape is always changing becoming the focal point for the works. The middle totem’s highest element is polished bronze, like the brilliant sun radiating from its highest point. The title “53” Birthday Series reflects Kagan’s designation of his numeric birthday to the creation his works.

“Rod's biggest influence on my life was teaching me to ski and sharing the freedom and peace it allows. He visited me on many winter ski adventures after I moved to Colorado in 1988. I enjoyed driving in the darkness to Vail over Tennessee / Battle Mountain passes from my home in Leadville talking of the first tracks we would make in Vail's Back Bowls. We hope to share Rod's creativity and enjoyment of the mountains in donating the "53" Birthday Series to the Town of Vail’s public art collection from North Fork Ironworks, LLC (Rod's brothers Pete Kagan and Tim Kagan, and myself),” expresses Andy Kagan, nephew of the late artist.

Kagan’s sculptures are in many private and public collections throughout the United States and abroad. Several of his sculptures are on permanent display in the sculpture garden at the Boise Art Museum, Idaho. In 1984 he was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 1990 he was the recipient of the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

For more information about the Town of Vail’s public art collection visit