If you want to be included in the ever-growing Denver public art collection, now is your time to apply. From sculptures to light and sound displays to murals, the public art scene in Denver is as good as any museum showing — plus, to enjoy the pieces you usually must venture outside. Joining the ranks of the public art collection means that your art will be seen by anyone, without the elitism of galleries or museums. It means that you’re beautifying a neglected space, or brightening a person’s commute or making something a little safer.
There are three main commissions available through Denver Arts & Venues until March 18, when applications close in order for the committee to decide on the recipients. The first two — the 47th and York Street Pedestrian Bridge and the Denver Health Outpatient Medical Center — will be funded through the Public Art One Percent program. When any new construction project is built in Denver that costs over $1 million, one percent of that must be diverted to public art and that art must be on or around the building.
“We are particularly excited about these two new public art opportunities,” said Denver public art manager Michael Chavez in a press release. “On the surface, they seem very different. However, they both speak to the ability for art to promote safe, healthy experiences, whether the art is experienced by a patient visiting a medical facility or by a child traversing train tracks to get to school.”
Read on for more information about each commission and how to apply.
47th and York Pedestrian Bridge
Although the bridge that this public art project will transform is technically not built yet, Denver Arts & Venues wants to secure an artist or group of artists now. It will reach across the Union Pacific railroad line, constructed on unoccupied property south of 47th Avenue. The bridge is considered a “critical mobility improvement” in order to make bike and pedestrian travel safer. As part of the Elyria Swansea Neighborhood Plan set out in 2015, the connection point across the tracks was identified as a top priority and the community is in full support. It will improve safety between the Swansea Elementary School and the Valdez-Perry Branch Library.
The call to artists is open to anyone living in the United States, not just Colorado residents. The one guideline provided by Denver Arts & Venues is that the installation must incorporate “sound, light or mixed-media in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional format.” This is a perfect opportunity for digital artists or those experimenting with audio inputs and outputs.
Qualifications will be accepted until March 18 at 11:59 p.m. The commission amount is $65,000.
Denver Health Outpatient Medical Center
The new Denver Health Outpatient Medical Center (OMC) will measure in at 293,000 square-feet when it opens next year, with a day surgery center, expanded pharmacy operations, lab services and radiology. Located in downtown Denver, the OMC will likely be a highly-trafficked place. This call from Denver Arts & Venues seeks an artist or artist team to create something site-specific on the campus. It must be completed before the OMC opens in June 2020.
As a place for healing, the OMC’s artwork should “create a safe and welcoming environment near the south elevators on the first floor” according to the press release. It also needs to “provide a positive distraction” for patients and visitors to the center. There are no limitations on material or medium used — so any and all artists are encouraged to apply. Think of an installation that is calming, uplifting and generally radiating good vibes.
It’s open to any artists living in the United States.
Qualifications will be accepted until Monday, March 18 at 11:59 p.m. The commission amount is $175,000.
Urban Arts Fund 2019
Over the past decade, a single department under the umbrella of Denver Arts & Venues has commissioned nearly 300 murals — the Denver Urban Arts Fund (UAF). Each year, more and more artists have been accepted and granted money, time and permission to paint on various walls around the city, especially the Cherry Creek Bike Path.
This year, the call for artists is specifically focused on the districts in Denver that don’t currently have any UAF mural projects — council districts 4, 5, 6 and 8. Additionally, Denver Arts & Venues wants to give preference to first-time applicants and projects with a youth development and community engagement component. Although it’s not a new guideline, UAF seeks out artists of marginalized communities like women, people of color, LGBTQ+ community and more to apply. Commitment to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Initiative (DEI) is a major priority at UAF, where it is believed that “Denver is a city where everyone matters, and everyone matters in the arts.”
This call is not limited by where you are based.
Applications open through March 18. Commissions are available from $2,000 to $8,000.
More information on upcoming projects and requests for proposal from Denver Public Art can be found here.