Mile High City II: Denver’s Riches of Public Art
I admire cities that heavily invest in public art and
strongly reject the complaint that it is a waste of taxpayer’s money. Denver’s impressive treasure of public
art displays pride in the city, adds to the local ambience, and enhances
property values and public life thus enriching every citizen.
I like to call the below picture Two Tall Men Dancing, a
statue located in front of the Denver Convention Center.
The Big Blue Bear leaning up against the convention center
is an imposing work.
The Articulated Wall (yellow tower) is by Herbert Beyer of
the Design Center. The Sunspot Dog is credited to dsmpublicartfoundation.com.
“Ground Beef”, three cow’s hind quarters each sticking up
out of the ground, was designed by Denver School of the Arts students.
Three facts are written on this Denver International Airport
cow sculpture with cowgirl; Denver’s abundant park system, 300 days of sunshine
a year, and the airport covers 53 square miles.
The Globeville neighborhood, located in north Denver, was
settled in the late 1880’s around the Globe Smelting and Refining Company,
railroad yards, and packing plants.
Immigrants from Austria, Germany, Croatia, Poland, Russia, Slovenia and
Scandinavia found work there and assimilated into American life. Globeville, today, is a 90% Latino
neighborhood that is showing signs of gentrification.
The story of Globeville is told in four murals adorning
sides of a car tunnel through a railroad trestle.
The murals are a great example of folk art that tells the
story of where they came from and how they live in Denver.
I stayed in a Globeville hotel, drove through the tunnel
many times, and became interested in the four mural set. The images that spring from local
artist’s minds and beautify dull walls always amaze me.
A driving tour of Denver will provide a rich cross section
of creativity expressed by the diverse mix of citizens, namely the Native
American mural (below) that beautifies the worn side of an interstate highway.
The trolley relief on the side of the brick building strikes
me as whimsical.
The big blue horse statue boldly stands on the plane outside
the airport terminal.
Donna Billick is the designer of the below arch. Artist Tony Ortega produced the scene
of people and bicycles from tiles.
The Maman Spider, designed by Louis Bourgeois in 1999, has
copies in a number of major cities located around the world.
Other notable cities that heavily invest in public art are
my own home of Atlanta, GA, 456,000 city, 5.7 million
metro-wide; also Bend, Oregon, a city of about 80,000 located in the high