Art has the ability to stand on its own with little need for description or explanation. It can have a profound impact on the viewer, who interacts with the artwork in the context of his or her own experiences. But while art has this ability, how much more powerful is it when you understand the story behind the piece?
The opportunities for the public to engage with art through the Terra Firma series continue this month with the launch of Understudy, Denver’s first-of-its-kind experimental arts and culture incubator. Housed in a formerly unrentable, 700-square-foot space in the Colorado Convention Center, Understudy serves as a way to experiment both operationally and artistically to determine the best way to provide artists, creative groups and the community with a free and central space for art installations.
As the color of Konstantin Dimopoulos’ Blue Trees in the Denver Theatre District began to fade, our dots were hard at work planning the next phase of the Terra Firma series. In October, New York-based artist Shantell Martin arrived in Denver to create her largest installation to date and leave her mark on our city. The sidewalks in the District became the perfect canvas for Martin’s signature meditation of black and white lines.
Breathing new life into a historic space is no easy feat. Navigating issues from crumbling walls to leaky roofs, updating outdated electrical systems, and addressing the need for modern amenities and conveniences can be tiring. But it’s usually well worth it in the end.
The renovation of The Blackstone in Chicago by Sage Hospitality proved that an iconic, historic hotel can not only stay relevant, but also set a new standard for what can be expected from a boutique hotel experience (thanks in part to its captivating art collection).
Chicago’s ‘Cloud Gate’ (aka ‘the bean’). New York’s ‘Charging Bull’ and ‘Fearless Girl’. Denver International Airport’s terrifying or awe-inspiring (depending on who you ask) ‘Mustang’. Creating memorable spaces and connecting people to the built environment extends far beyond brick and mortar.
Here at NINE dot Arts, we love that public art has the power to become part of the identity of a city. It can be an emblem, mascot, lightning rod or beloved landmark – or a combination of things for different people. Most of all, public art creates an experience that is unique to a place. So when the Denver Theatre District reached out to us to help enliven a 16-block area of Downtown Denver through interactive, immersive and experimental arts and cultural events, we jumped at the chance to contribute.
We know (much to our chagrin) that art can sometimes be overlooked in the development of a new space. While we live, breathe and sleep art, we understand the rest of the world thinks differently. That is until you’re standing in the middle of an art-less space wondering why it feels so sterile/institutional/blah/sad/like something’s missing.
When you spend your days and nights at gallery openings, visiting studios, reviewing portfolios and inventory sheets, lusting after art you personally can’t afford becomes a constant experience. Hello, Art Envy, my old friend. It’s more than “the-piece-that-got-away” syndrome because to let something go means you had to have it in the first place. Still, our clients provide us with the privilege and sanity-saving salve of vicarious art buying.