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Art for a Better Denver


Public Art


Public Art One Percent (1%) The City of Denver has a tradition of fostering public art to make public spaces more appealing and enjoyable for everyone. Denver’s Public Art Program, established in the late 1980s, provides opportunities and funding for public art.  In I991 the program was revised to strengthen the funding and tie it to new construction and renovation for City projects. One percent (1%) of the design and construction budget of any single City capital improvement project over $1 million must be set aside for the inclusion of art in the new project.


Public Art Bond Projects Overview
The Better Denver program is incorporating public art into qualifying construction projects that are part of the Bond Program. Art is incorporated in a variety of ways in the project; as a stand-alone piece, an architectural feature of a building or facility, or incorporated into landscaping. The art program applies to new construction or improvements to a “building or structure, road, streetscape, pedestrian mall or plaza or park” or any other project which includes “finished space for human occupancy” that will be “available for public view.”  About 30-plus bond projects qualified for inclusion in the Public Art Program. New art projects will be announced regularly via or visit



Artist Janet Echelman’s 1.26 floating fabric sculpture at Civic Center Park. 

Photo copyright by Echelman.












Arts and  Venues Denver

Arts and Venues (formerly Denver Office of Cultural Affairs/DOCA) oversees the Public Art Program and guides its activities, which are covered under the Denver Revised Municipal Code [DRMC] 20-85 ordinance.  Arts and Venues, with the City Attorney’s office, determines the applicability of the art program for City projects. DOCA is overseen by the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, a citizen group appointed by the Mayor of Denver that advises the City on art and cultural issues.

Program artworks are selected through a public process that includes citizens, artists and design professionals. Each public art project is specific to its location and each selection panel is unique. Panel members are charged with identifying works that speak to a location, a group of people, a time in history, and that represent Denver. Artists are chosen who can create works that engage the viewer, inform the visitor and add vitality to Denver’s cultural landscape. Over the past 18 years, the City has installed over 150 works of art under this program.


Overall Art program Goals

  • Each project site is unique
  • Encourage creative combinations
  • Reach out to emerging artists
  • Give artists the tools to apply and succeed
  • Sustainability
  • Design excellence



Contact Arts and Venues with questions about public art at 720-865-4302 or

Public Art – Bond Projects Descriptions

-        Civic Center Park- A floating fabric sculpture titled 1.26 by artist Janet Echelman was created for periodic display at Civic Center Park. The piece refers to the 1.26 second shortening of the earth’s day as a result of the 2010 Chilean earthquake, and relates to themes of temporality and interconnectedness.  

-        Westwood Child Development Center – A mosaic mural titled Pathways by artist Michael Juarez, and a sculptural stone Reconciliation Bench by artist Robert Tully were completed and dedicated in fall 2010.

-        Central Park Recreation Center- Two pieces were installed in January 2011 by artists Marek Walczak and Wesley Heiss: an interactive bench/video display called Thought Bubbles which incorporates quotes and dialog relating to the recreation experience, and a piece titled Staplefield, which is chandelier-like colored light sculpture that mirrors movement throughout the center.

-         Cherry Creek Trail (combined with project funds from the Cherry Creek Transfer Station): Artist Michael Clapper created a stone bench and metal sculpture which were installed along the trail in spring 2011.

-        Green Valley Ranch Branch Library: Artist Erik Carlson completed his interactive piece called Cloud Seeding, in spring 2011. It is comprised of four large LCD screens linked to a catalog search computer kiosk. Based on patron’s search terms, the piece displays an ever-changing spectrum of images, quotes, and information culled from the library's collection.

-        Denver Municipal Animal Shelter: Artists Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan completed an outdoor 20-foot tall sculpture of a puppy made of thousands of metal pet ID tags which shimmer in the daylight and are lit up at night with colored LED lights. The piece is titled Sun Spot.  A second art piece is a sculptural “collar” that is suspended in the shelter’s atrium. The artwork was dedicated at the shelter opening in June 2011.

-        Ruby Hill Park: In summer of 2011, Denver-based sculptor Erick Johnson installed a kinetic sculpture near the crest of the hill in the northeast corner of the park. The sculpture, which mimics a telescope's tripod and a navigational system, moves with the wind and powers LED lights.

-        Police Traffic Operations and Firing Range: Artist Bob Zoell completed a mural for the facility’s east facing walls which will be dedicated in summer 2011.

-        Sloan's Lake Park: Andy Dufford, a Denver artist and Sloan's Lake neighborhood resident, is completing the carving of a stone sculpture to top an interactive lake totem which will be installed later in 2011.

-        Eastside Human Services Facility: Artist Ray King was selected to create a colorful suspended glass sculpture for the new facility, which will be installed by the opening of the facility in fall 2011.  Additional artwork by local community artists is also being selected for the new building.

-        Police Crime Laboratory: Artist Cliff Garten was selected to create two large-scale suspended sculptures for the atrium areas.  Artist is in final design phase. 

-        Parkfield Lake Park: A Los Angeles-based design/art team of Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess (called Infranatural) was selected for an integrated project which will be an interactive fog “sculpture” in the play area of the park.

-        Tennyson Corridor: Artist Kevin Curry has been selected and approved to create a sculptural “totem” from recycled sign materials.  Artist is in preliminary design phase.

-        Stapleton Branch Library: Artist Steven Appleton was selected to create an integrated environmental sculptural series for the building.  Final design phase is underway.

-        La Alma Pool: Artist Alexi High was selected for a sculpture/art treatment in the pool/slide area.  Artist is in preliminary design phase.

-        Quincy Avenue: Artist Steven Schactman was selected to create a sculptural bridge along Quincy.  Installation is expected in summer of 2011.

-        14th Street Streetscape and Sidewalk: Artists Marek Walczak and Wesley Heiss were selected to create interactive sculptural elements along the streetscape.  Preliminary design is underway.

-        Central Park Boulevard/ I-70 Interchange: Artist team Patricia Leighton and Del Geist were selected to work on a preliminary design for an earthwork/sculpture array in the area of North Stapleton in the project vicinity.  Artists will be visiting this site for preliminary design.

-        Babi Yar Park: Artist Julian Bonder was selected to provide designs for artwork on site. Bonder’s contract will be design only and private funding will produce the sculpture and landscape designs.  Design phase is underway.

-        Denver Health: Colorado glass artist Kathy Bradford was selected to create a sand-blasted glass installation for the main lobby.  Artist is in contract phase. Expected installation is early 2012.

-        Denver Museum of Nature and Science: Artist team Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan are in contract phase to create artwork for the entrance of Education and Storage Collection Facility.  Some funds have been retained to feature a local “artist in residence” to create artwork after the primary construction is complete.

-        Decatur Station TOD Project: RFQ has been submitted via CAFÉ and artist selection will begin later in 2011.

-        TREX Finalization: Project dollars to be combined with the Colorado Pedestrian/Bike Bridge project for a more significant art project.  RFQ is being drafted for project.

-        Colfax Projects (East Colfax): Two project funding sources to be combined.  Selection process is underway.

-        West Denver Branch Library: RFQ was submitted and applicants will be screened soon.  Artist to be selected and under contract by fall 2011.

-        Denver Botanic Gardens: RFQ was submitted and applicants will be screened soon.  Artist to be selected and under contract by fall 2011.

-        Cherry Creek Drive South: A call for artists will be sent out by the end of the year 2011.

-        City Park Greenhouse: A call for artists will be sent out by the end of the year 2011.