Client: City of St. George
Location: St. George, UT, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $60,000
Project Concept, RFP creation
Art Around the Corner Foundation
Funding, liaison with IRONMAN
Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office
Funding, liaison with St. George City
City of St. George
Since 2004, the Art Around the Corner Foundation has partnered with the City of St. George, UT, to select and install high-end public art in the Historic Downtown district each spring. A highlight of the 2021 event was the installation of the IRONMAN “M-Dot” monument as a permanent sculpture. Working with AACF, the piece was commissioned by the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office and the City of St. George. It was designed and built by father and son artists, Richard and Josh Prazen, whose vision perfectly captures the movement and energy of the upcoming IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, being held in St. George in September.
The sculpture is 14′ H X 9′ W, and weighs nearly 6,000 pounds. Crafted of steel and stainless steel, it stands approximately 10 feet tall and is the backdrop for figures representing each element of a triathlon. The geographic cutouts are made of the same materials, but were sandblasted and rusted to create a color similar to the red rocks of St. George and Greater Zion. The artists used vinegar to quickly rust the metal, then added a coat of beeswax, which protects the metal and darkens its color. The swimmer, cyclist and runner (& the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships logo) are mounted to the front of each rusted layer.
The artwork aims to create a visual landmark that will bring to mind the strength of the triathletes and the beauty of the St. George area. Since the piece was installed near the finish line of the race, it will feature prominently in local and global media coverage. The monument has four sides: Three focus on the sacrifice, hard work and accomplishments of the athletes; the fourth celebrates the land we live in, the accomplishments of the community, and the dedication of the people who make events like this possible.
The AACF board was approached by the City of St. George and the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office to create an RFP to craft an iconic sculpture that would celebrate St. George as the location of the IRONMAN events. Criteria for the sculpture included the size, use of the IRONMAN "M-dot" logo, and location-specific design elements (i.e., red rocks, mesas, cacti, etc.). Additionally, the sculpture would need to withstand temperatures of 105+ in the summer and the high teens/low 20s in the winter. Once the requirements were agreed upon, AACF submitted the RFP via CODAworx. It was offered to UT-based artists only, with a goal of highlighting the outstanding creative talent in our state.
This four-sided, three-dimensional sculpture celebrates both the triathlon disciplines – swim, bike, run – and the community that has hosted IRONMAN events for over ten years. Given the coterie of international media that will be in St. George in September for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, the sculpture is sure to become the focal point for coverage of the event, as well as thousands of selfies & photos by athletes and families. “We are very honored to have this sculpture showcased to the world,” said sculpture artist Josh Prazen. "It has been an incredible experience, especially working with the City and the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office to bring this vision to life.”