Eye Spy 10 Public Art Sculptures in Denver

Did you know the Mile High City is home to more than 400 pieces of public art? Ranging from larger-than-life sculptures to interactive media pieces, there is much to explore. So, as we spring into warmer weather, now is the perfect time to get outside and go on a scavenger hunt to find a few of our favorite public art sculptures in Denver.

Giant Pencil, Champa St.

Where: 1561 Champa St.

The Lowdown: Drawing people in from all parts of the country the Giant Pencil is a mysterious hidden gem among the city streets of Denver. This 15-story tall pencil once a smoke stack has been created into a giant number 2 pencil by Fisher & Fisher Architects in 1910. This sculpture is located at the University Bldg (letters on the side of a pencil) however, to see it in its full glory, 15th and Curtis will have the best view.

“I See What You Mean”, Colorado Convention Center
public art sculptures in Denver, blue bear

Where: Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th St.

The Lowdown: Probably one of the most iconic public art sculptures in Denver is the big blue bear downtown. The 40-foot infamous blue bear, officially titled I See What You Mean, sculpted by Lawrence Argent, features a curious bear leaning against the convention center, peering inside its glass walls as if trying to catch a glimpse of what’s inside. The sculpture has become a beloved icon of Denver and a popular spot for tourist photos. Its location is downtown positioned outside the east-facing windows of the Colorado Convention Center.

Dancers, Denver Center of Performing Arts

public art sculptures in Denver

Where: 1185-1245 Champa St.

The Lowdown: The Denver Center of Performing Arts (DCPA) is home to these large-scale Dancers sculptures located outside the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Featuring two dancers reaching toward the sky Jonathan Borofsky the artist, wants others who come and see them encouraged to dance and frolic with them as well.

Mine Craft, McNichols Building

Where: Bannock St & W Colfax Ave.

The Lowdown: Built for all ages for enjoyment and Mine Craft lovers, artist Mike Iwasaki created this print glass louvers doorway at the McNichols Building in 2017. This art sculpture was inspired by the geography, industry and landscape of Colorado. It also was consciously and locally sourced sticking with the eco-friendly sustainable movement this states pursues. It’s a subtle piece of work but yet it’s also eye-catching especially when the sunlight shines right on it.

National Velvet, Highland Bridge

public art sculptures in Denver, National velvet

Where: 2415 16th St.

The Lowdown: East of the Highland Bridge and Interstate-25 this 20-foot sculpture has many tourists and on-lookers perplexed as to what it actually is. Alas, it is not deflated balloons, red jelly beans, soggy hot dogs, sandbags, etc. There is no actual representation of what this obelisk, non-traditional art piece as it speaks for itself. However, it is a sculpture made from fiberglass, aluminum, paint, and resin, otherwise known as National Velvet created by John McEnroe.

Luz de Denver, Riverfront Park

Where: 16th Street &, Little Raven St.

The Lowdown: Luz de Denver (Light of Denver) is another infamous Denver sculpture located at Riverfront and the Millenium Bridge on 16th St., which permanently spread its wings in 2019 after being a temporary art structure that was originally installed in 2016. Jorge Marin is an artist that creates pieces that incorporate art into everyday life for all passerbys.

Man and Woman, Denver Center of Performing Artspublic art sculptures in Denver

Where: 998 14th St.

The Lowdown: This beloved Man and Woman sculpture was created by Colombian artist Fernando Botero and was installed in the Denver Performing Arts District in 1983. Botero is known for his signature style of creating exaggerated, rotund figures in his artwork. The bronze sculpture depicts a man and a woman standing side by side. Man and woman are both depicted with exaggerated, voluptuous bodies, which is typical of Botero’s work. The sculpture is made of bronze and stands around 8 feet tall.

Plethodon

Where: 1338 1st St.

The Lowdown: The Plethodon art sculpture is one of the many immersive installations located at Meow Wolf, a large-scale interactive art exhibit based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The sculpture was created by a group of artists who call themselves the Plethodon Collective. The sculpture itself is a vibrant and colorful depiction of a Plethodon, which is a genus of salamanders native to North America.

The Articulated Wall

Where: 625 S Broadway

The Lowdown: Sorry, to say but these are not french fries. In fact, it is called The Articulated Wall. It’s a unique and innovative feature located in the Denver Design Center on South Broadway. It was created by the architectural firm Roth Sheppard Architects, who were commissioned by the Denver Design District to create a focal point for their building. The installation was inspired by the concept of dynamic architecture, which involves designing structures that can adapt and change over time based on the needs of the occupants.

Sun Spot, South Broadway

public art sculptures in Denver, Sun Spot

Where: 1241 W. Bayaud

The Lowdown: Sun Spot is a sustainable public art installation located at the Denver Animal Shelter — South Platte Campus in the Baker Neighborhood. The sculpture, created by artist Christopher Janney, was commissioned as part of the Denver International Airport public art program in the mid-1990s. The piece consists of a series of 34 steel poles, ranging in height from 30 feet to 60 feet, arranged in 90,000 pet tags. Each pole is topped with a solar panel that absorbs sunlight during the day, and powers LED lights at night, creating a mesmerizing light show.

All photography by Kiddest Metaferia 

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