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Larger-than-life sculpture gets moved to its new home at PPCC

Colorado Springs – November 28, 2017 – Pikes Peak Community College Foundation has acquired Breathe by Joan Benefiel. This 800-pound, 11-foot-tall luminescent orange figurative sculpture will be lifted by crane from its current location and installed in the courtyard of the newly constructed Creative Commons at the Downtown Studio Campus on Dec. 1. The media is invited to catch the action. The schedule is below.

Breathe was purchased by the PPCC Foundation with generous support from the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges as part of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Creative Commons project. The goal of the project is to develop PPCC’s Downtown Studio Campus as a cornerstone for regional arts education as well as a major destination for cultural events in downtown Colorado Springs.

The sculpture was first exhibited by Art in The Streets, a program of the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs. The Downtown Partnership helped PPCC acquire the sculpture, negotiate with the artist and handle the logistics of installation.

Breathe will be removed from its current location on the NW corner of Tejon and Moreno by crane and transported by truck to its permanent home in the PPCC Creative Commons courtyard on the corner of Bijou and Sierra Madre. Installation has been made possible by the support of Nunn Construction.

Transport/Installation Schedule:
(Times are subject to change. Please call Karen at 719-235-2987 for real-time updates.)

8:15–8:45 a.m. l NW corner of Tejon and Moreno
Breathe will be lifted off its base by a large crane and loaded onto a truck.

8:45-9:15 a.m. l Breathe will be traveling through Downtown Colorado Springs.

9:15-9:45 a.m. l Corner of Sierra Madre and Bijou (NW corner of PPCC Campus)
Breathe will be placed by crane onto its permanent base.


Vibrant orange cast-resin figurative sculpture with 1" square stainless steel tube armature and wooden base.

Artist Statement
Sculptor Joan Benefiel is inspired by the spark of magic that occurs when the expressive power of the human form meets her favorite medium. She models her figures first in clay, plaster, and wax before casting them in the most technically advanced luminous resin, a material that captures and holds light in a transfixing way. She often imagines that the figures look as if they could be actually modeled directly in light. The company that makes the resin was so excited about the project that they made a documentary of the process.

Joan was born and raised in Wichita, KS, and lives and works in Brooklyn’s artist enclave of Bushwick in Brooklyn, N.Y. She collaborates with her husband and partner, fellow sculptor Jeremy Leichman, at their sculpture production business, Figuration Studio.

Joan refers to the hue of Breathe as “classic orange,” and says it is inspired by her walks along the Hudson River near the New York Academy of Arts, where she completed her MFA. Joan and her studio partner, now her husband, used to sneak out of their studio to watch the sun set over the water.

The wooden base of Breathe is inspired by the pier pilings along the river, and the color of the figure is a response to the artist’s vision of figures dancing over the water, glowing as if they were carved out of the color of the sunset. Based on that vision she sought a medium and a dye that would be able to bring her vision to life.

Hear from the artist herself about this piece using the free app Otocast, which gives users a smart phone audio tour of Breathe and the entire Arts on Streets Exhibit. Download it at

Pikes Peak Community College Foundation is in its 26th year of raising funds to support the students and programs of PPCC. With total assets of $4.5 million, the Foundation funds $1.2 million in scholarships annually as well as supporting capital projects.

About PPCC
Established in 1968 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, PPCC offers associate degrees and certifications in career and technical fields. With three campuses, two learning centers and two military education centers, PPCC provides access to a quality, affordable and flexible education to 19,000 students annually.

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