Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature / People

Alumna scores in the art of sports

Perhaps it’s fitting that an artist describes her career today as a geometric shape: the circle.

As a small girl growing up in Ontario, Gail Slatter Folwell (BFA ’83) would make and sell “crazy wire sculptures” of skiers and golfers.

Then she fell in love with graphic design for many years and even majored in it at the University of Denver.

Then she returned to sculpting athletic forms.

“So now I’ve come full circle back to my sports sculpture beginnings,” Folwell says.

Turns out there’s a reason for the interest in sports. Both her parents were athletes.

“I don’t think there was a sport my dad didn’t do, and my mom won 12 golf club championships.”

And if you’re skiing at Vail this winter, you can see a piece of Folwell’s latest sports-related work: The Edge, a 3,000-pound bronze, double-life-size rendition of a downhill ski racer for Vail Resorts Inc. as a tribute to the area’s Olympians.

It took 10 months to complete, and it’s the centerpiece of Vail’s new village base area. Chris Jarnot, Vail Resorts chief operating officer, says the piece “will quickly become a Vail icon and landmark … for years and years to come.”

Folwell says one of her goals is to “express physical and emotional energy through the abstraction” of the human form.

“In sculpture, to create something that can make you feel the adrenaline of the event is a fantastic challenge and journey with each piece [I create],” she says. “I love the human body and what it can do. If you’re an athlete, enjoy and have an understanding of the mechanics of sport, you can put yourself in any of those shoes and imagine how it works and feels.”

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