The city of Boulder, Colorado is the home of many artists and creative types. They leave their special artistic imprints all over the progressive college town nestled next to the Rocky Mountains, contributing to the uniqueness of the place.
But an overzealous police department has decided that one such artist needs to cease and desist. And the community isn’t taking it well.
Michael Grab, who goes by the nickname “Gravity Glue”, is a rock sculpture who specializes in creating beautiful stacked river rock sculptures. For the last 7 years, “Gravity Glue” has been creating the sculptures in the city and county of Boulder, without any kind of problems or interference.
But earlier this week, “Gravity Glue” was confronted by a Boulder cop who informed him that the act of creating his sculptures is against the law and threatening to arrest him if he is ever again caught in the dastardly act of rearranging rocks in a creek bed.
Here is his account, as posted on Facebook:
“For the past 7 years i have been creating this art in and around Boulder, Colorado, USA. nearly every day!” he wrote. “[J]ust this weekend, one police officer has decided that balancing rocks in Boulder, Colorado is now illegal, obscurely referencing two city codes [5-4-8 and 5-4-2] about ‘destruction of public property’ in relation to rocks.”
“So now the police have belligerently taken it upon themselves to write tickets and/or arrest ANYONE balancing rocks in Boulder, CO. and specifically threatened to ticket me and/or arrest me if they catch me in the future,” the artist lamented. “[I] encourage as many people as possible (especially locals) to contact the city council here in Boulder and voice your support for this long standing tradition in Boulder. [I]t is something that an overwhelming portion of the community supports.”
In case you’re wondering what Boulder city codes “Gravity Glue” is being accused of breaking, here they are, courtesy of the city of Boulder website
“5-4-2. – Damaging Public Property.
(a) No person shall damage, move, remove, destroy, drill a hole in, dig, or injure in any manner whatsoever any grass, tree, shrub, plant, flower, soil, rock, or other natural object, railing, bridge, culvert, sign, building, equipment, bolt, archeological, historic, or cultural object or any other property whatsoever belonging to the city or under the possession and control of the city, unless done pursuant to a written permit or contract from the city manager.
(b) This section does not apply where damage knowingly caused in the course of a single criminal episode is $500 or more, is effected by means of fire or explosives or is otherwise feloniously caused.
5-4-8. – Rolling or Throwing Rocks on Public Property.
No person shall roll, throw, or otherwise move any rocks or boulders on any public property. But this section does not apply to city employees acting within the scope of their employment.”
So apparently, “Gravity Glue” has been damaging public property in the course of building his rock sculptures. And not only is he guilty of this heinous crime, he also is guilty of moving rocks. Heaven forbid some kid kicks a wayward rock while walking the streets of Boulder, lest the police decide to taser him for disturbing the poor rock.
“Gravity Glue” asked his 89,000 Facebook followers to contact the city of Boulder attorney:
“The phone number for the city attorney’s office is (+1) 303-441-3020 (who has the power to issue a permit superseding police jurisdiction in this case). I encourage as many people as possible (especially locals) to contact the city attorney’s office and voice your support for this long standing tradition in Boulder. It is something that an overwhelming portion of the community supports (including several police officers throughout past experience) (also, you should have seen the crowds yesterday at the Boulder Creek Festival absolutely in awe of what I was making). Countless people commented that it was the coolest thing they saw at the entire Boulder Creek Festival.”
“UPDATE: holy shit! maybe the support was more than i anticipated!!” he exclaimed. “[J]ust got a call from the city attorney personally here in Boulder telling me that he has ordered the police to NOT cite rock balancing under the city codes [I] mentioned below!!!”
“THANK YOU everyone for the overwhelming support!!!! [T]hey must have gotten lots of calls!! haha :))”
This is why we must be proactive and support these calls for action. Otherwise, stupidity and irrationality would reign supreme. The cop(s) who decided to go after this popular and talented local artist surely either have a grudge to hold against “Gravity Glue,” or are just another example of cops abusing their power and overstepping their bounds.
Watch a video of “Gravity Glue” perform his magic below. If you find his work as inspiring as I do, you’ll find yourself a creek tomorrow and start creating your own rock stacks.
Unless there are some cops around who don’t have anything better to do than follow every single city ordinance in your town to the letter, and attempting to stifle creativity and beauty.