With the height of the pandemic behind us, creatives can now roll out the innovative ideas they came up with during all those months of cancellations and quarantine. Locally, LandMark is the widest-reaching of those ideas so far — having become the area’s only running exhibit that spans more than a dozen miles.
As opposed to the traditional gallery experience, the art of the LandMark exhibit is located entirely outdoors and spread out over several sites in Arvada and Lakewood. The first works went up April 18 with several others going up ever since. By the time it’s finished, the sprawling exhibit will be comprised of 24 works total.
“It’s a really fascinating way of viewing artwork because you have all the sensations activated — your sense of sound and the textures, the sights and the smells, it’s all there,” said Anna Kaye, who is the co-curator of LandMark alongside Kapi Monoyios. “Storms come and go, the temperature of the day might influence the viewing of the work, as well as the weather patterns and the time of day. It’s in constant flux.”
Monoyios said she first conceptualized the LandMark idea in the early weeks of the pandemic.
“Right at the beginning of the shutdown, I was just really taken with the fact that the world moved in concert and human activity ceased,” she said. “What I noticed in my neighborhood was that we could hear the birds chirping in the morning instead of traffic noise. I also was really entranced with the fact that, because they weren’t traveling all over the place and commuting, people were really exploring their neighborhoods. I saw an opportunity to connect people locally and also remind them of our connection to nature.”
Monoyios decided to partner with Kaye, a fellow environmental artist, to plan the exhibit, reach out to the cities of Lakewood and Arvada and get LandMark off the ground.
Now, the artists’ vision to show how we interact with nature has come to life through works that interact with nature themselves, in real-time. For instance, a glacier-like sculpture by Mia Mulvey transforms every time it rains or snows, because the precipitation erodes the coating on the outside of the piece. An installation by Monoyios created from single-use plastics and other materials explore our relationship with these items and will leave a mark on the grass when removed, just like these materials leave a mark on our environment. Kaye’s installation is made up of hollowed-out tree trunks that depict Colorado’s ecosystems, and their appearance becomes lit up, shadowed or somewhere in between based on where the sun is in the sky. The story behind each work is explained further through an audio tour accessible through a QR code on the exhibit’s website.
So far, 14 LandMark pieces are up and ready for viewing, with plans for 10 others to go up by the end of June. The artists with works in Lakewood include Kaye, Monoyios, Nicole Banowetz, Scottie Burgess, Tobias Fike, Tiffany Matheson, Jason Mehl, Jaime Molina, Mia Mulvey and Eileen Roscina. In Arvada, works by Judy Gardner, Nathan Hall, Patrick Maxcy and Yoshitomo Saito are already on display, with pieces from Mindy Bray, Mark Bueno, Brandon Bullard, Corrina Espinosa, Emily Grace King, Nancy Lovendahl, Patrick Marold, Jesse Mathes, Collin Parson and Nikki Pike going up soon. The majority of the LandMark-Lakewood artists either live or work in Lakewood, while about half of the LandMark-Arvada artists have a connection to Arvada, Monoyios said.
A map of where each piece is located and a walking tour of the exhibit can be found here, though Kaye and Monoyios added that the works can be viewed in any order at any time.
The Lakewood exhibit will stay up through October of this year while the Arvada exhibit will continue for three years, through April of 2024. The curators hope to host multiple events throughout the exhibition’s run-times, including two that have already been scheduled: an Artists’ Talk that will be held over Zoom on June 3 and a rock-painting community scavenger hunt that will take place June 5.
“As we install, all the people that are passing by either on their bikes or running or walking stop and say, ‘What’s happening?’ What they’re used to seeing in their neighborhood is changing and they get really excited,” Kaye said. “It provides a sense of spontaneity and discovery and it’s forming connections.”