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.
Dubbed the Terra Firm art series, this sequence of unique urban art installations is focused on engaging the public, offering interactive experiences that people will both seek out and encounter by chance while downtown.
As the curator of Terra Firma, we kicked the series off in May, recruiting artist Konstantin Dimopoulos to come to Denver to paint 150 trees in the Denver Theatre District blue, aided by 200 local volunteers. The effect was striking, bringing attention to the trees and showcasing their importance in an urban environment, while also providing a whimsical experience for pedestrians.
The Blue Trees did not just create a unique sense of place within Downtown Denver, the installation also demonstrated how public art could engage the community, drawing people together to collaborate and discuss art and the implications of deforestation. The physical and emotional impact the installation had on the city was profound.
We’re proud to have helped bring this striking installation to Denver, and look forward to sharing more of our work on the Terra Firma series later this year.
(Update: The installation was named a 2017 Mayor’s Design Award winner!)
Photography Credit: Adam Larkey