Denver awards $65,500 in P.S. You Are Here public art grants

Denver can look forward to eight new pieces of public art thanks to the creativity of local artists and $65,000 in grants from P.S. You Are Here.

Painted Dumpsters in Sun Valley, part of a Birdseed Collective projected funded by a P.S. You Are Here Grant in 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Stuart Semple's "Jump" in Federation Square, Melbourne. (Courtesy of Stuart Semple Studios
Stuart Semple’s “Jump” in Federation Square, Melbourne. (Courtesy of Stuart Semple Studios

Denver can look forward to eight new pieces of public art thanks to the creativity of local artists and $65,500 in grants from P.S. You Are Here.

The program, which is part of IMAGINE 2020 and Denver’s Cultural Plan, is now in its fourth year of funding installations across the city.

“As we reevaluate Denver’s cultural landscape at the midway point of IMAGINE 2020, we continue to hear people express the desire for more art in their neighborhoods,” Arts & Venues Deputy Director Ginger White said in an announcement. “A program like P.S. You Are Here which generates surprising neighborhood pop-up art experiences is one way we are actively bringing art to our public spaces.”

The program has stayed about the same size since it was launched in 2014, with six recipients in the first year and nine in the following two years. Birdseed Collective, with its dumpster and bus bench beautification projects, is a perennial recipient.

Other projects receiving a piece of the $65,500 pie include a beautified bus shelter designed by high school students, Colorado beetle kill pine arches lined with hand painted panels in Commons Park, LED light installations on Broadway and a marquee collaboration with acclaimed British artist Stuart Semple.

Projects are temporary — displayed for three months to a year — and located in outdoor, public spaces throughout Denver. They can be installed very quickly or take years to happen, according to Arts & Venues.

A Civic Center Conservancy project among the last round of recipients, for example, will be installed next week. Tree of Transformation, the second in a series of 20-foot-tall interactive musical trees from local artists Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf, comes to Civic Center Park on Jan. 18.

Here are all the grant recipients, with descriptions provided by P.S. You Are Here.

Balfour at Riverfront Park, “This Land Over Time”

Grant: $10,000
Site: Commons Park
Description: “This project aims to provide a glimpse of what has transpired in and around Commons Park and the South Platte River basin over millennia. This site-specific installation consists of three archways (roughly 12 feet by 16 feet by 8 feet each) built from Colorado beetle kill pine lined with hand painted panels depicting the transitions of many epochs. Visitors will be able to walk beneath the archways as they enter Commons Park, experiencing and learning about the rich history of this land.”

Painted Dumpsters in Sun Valley, part of a Birdseed Collective projected funded by a P.S. You Are Here Grant in 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Painted Dumpsters in Sun Valley, part of a Birdseed Collective projected funded by a P.S. You Are Here Grant in 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Birdseed Collective, “Creative and Cultural Integration of Art” 

Grant: $7,500
Site: Columbine Denver Housing Authority Development, 201 S. Yuma St.
Description: “Twenty artists will be enlisted to design and hand-paint unique creative artwork on 40 solid waste dumpsters in the Columbine Denver Housing Authority Development, including the dumpsters from Zuni to Tejon streets, and Alameda Avenue to Cedar Street. Artists will work in collaboration with the neighborhood association and the housing center’s residents to make this part of their “community cleanup” beautification project. Community participants will be encouraged to make these pieces of art their own and participate in creation.”

Broadway Partnership, “The Heart of Broadway” 

Grant: $10,000
Site: 
The Broadway Pedestrian Mall between Interstate 25 and Second Avenue.
Description: “Local artists will collaborate to install multiple creative LED light installations within the Broadway corridor in the public right-of-way. These transportable installations will range in size, permanence and style, and will add beauty to the public spaces along Broadway, while also improving safety throughout the area by intentionally illuminating and animating underutilized areas. These light installations will be innovative and dynamic, providing both safety and beautification while honoring the history of Broadway’s forgotten theater row. These installations will create a long-term sense of place and identity. In the short-term these installations will become destinations, promoting health, happiness and well-being while stimulating local businesses and boosting the local economy.”

Walk Denver, “Vision Zero Community Art Project”

Grant: $10,000
Sites: 
Various sites along Colfax Avenue
Description: “Bringing together the community along Denver’s Colfax corridor to create public art installations that raise awareness of traffic safety and Denver’s commitment to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries as a Vision Zero city. This artwork will support a dialogue among residents, city officials, advocacy groups and artists about our community values, and how we design our neighborhoods and streets to reflect those values. Community engagement will target neighborhood residents, business owners and patrons, and East High School students, as well as families of traffic victims. Community members will be invited to weigh in on the art project’s content and to assist with design and installation. Pat Milbery will draw upon this community input to design a large-scale mural that celebrates the accomplishments of Vision Zero and raises awareness of the progress that still needs to be made. Milbery will also work collaboratively with East High School students and community members to design smaller scale installations, such as sidewalk stencils or creative “street signs,” to be located in areas that community members identify as in need of safety improvements. ” 

Nine Dot Arts, “Happy City” 

Grant: $10,000
Site: 
Civic Center Park, Colorado Convention Center, Union Station and other locations
Description: “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a giant happy face cloud? That is right; your eyes aren’t fooling you; those clouds are shaped like giant happy faces. Stuart Semple explains his motivation, ‘I just wanted to make a piece of work that would cheer people up a bit.’ he says, ‘I know at times like this it’s easy to make creativity a low priority but I want to show that on a very human level, an artistic idea might be able to do something important, even for a fleeting moment.’ The Happy Clouds are created using helium, soap and vegetable dye. Semple will release one Happy Cloud every seven seconds, and each cloud lasts approximately 60 minutes. More than 1,000 completely biodegradable clouds will be released in total.”

RedLine, “It Takes a Tiny Village”

Grant: $8,500
Sites: St. Andrews Episcopal Church, and other neighborhoods
Description: “As a collaboration between multiple entities, this project is intended to demonstrate the efficacy of tiny home villages as a more humane and holistic approach to the homelessness crisis in the city. RedLine proposes the construction of a model tiny home that can be used to demonstrate the aesthetics of a tiny home village and humanize its occupants. The model home would be well-designed and attractive, and participants in RedLine’s Reach Studio program would provide art for the interior. RedLine would help organize events that feature writing and art by individuals experiencing homelessness, and programming by homeless advocates. In addition, local cultural organizations and neighborhood groups will activate the model home to show how a village is an asset rather than something to be feared. The model home would allow curious residents to see for themselves what it would mean for a tiny home village to be a part of their neighborhood.”

Passersby peer at a Fairy Door. (Courtesy of Autumn Bjugstad)
Passersby peer at a Fairy Door. (Courtesy of Autumn Bjugstad)
South Pearl Street Association, “South Pearl Street Fairy Neighborhood”

Grant: $3,500
Site: South Pearl Street
Description:  South Pearl Street Fairy Neighborhood is an interactive experience for all visitors to the Platt Park Neighborhood. This project designs and installs three to five artistic fairy doors in and around the South Pearl Street business district in public spaces such as alleys, entryways or parking lots. The South Pearl Street corridor is a public gathering place with high visibility, and a good place to plant the seed of inspiration. The initial doors created by three local artists will inspire other artists, families and residents to create and install their own doors, resulting in a neighborhood filled with fairy finding fun! This project also includes an interactive neighborhood map of the fairy doors, and an event to launch the project during which neighbors and visitors could learn from local artists about creating their own doors.”

Thomas Jefferson High School, “SxSE Community Mural Installation”

Grant: $6,000
Site: Eastbound RTD bus shelter at Ivanhoe Street and Hampden Avenue
Description: “The handmade ceramic tile mural was designed by students in City Council District 4 and community artist/visual art teacher, Timothea Biermann, and painted by southeast Denver community members at the South by Southeast District 4 community festival on Aug. 19, 2017. The mural will cover the retaining wall at the RTD Bus Stop (eastbound on East Hampden Avenue between South Holly and South Ivanhoe streets) which services Thomas Jefferson High School students and commuters along the Hampden corridor. The ceramic tile mural installation will connect to the existing Thomas Jefferson Art Bus Shelter, creating an eye-catching and placemaking piece of public art on the very busy Hampden corridor.”

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers culture and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.