On Saturday, April 29th, ULC and Birdseed Collective hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the premier public art installation along the future path of the proposed 303 ArtWay urban trail. The 303 ArtWay is an art, health and heritage-themed pedestrian and bike friendly trail proposed for Northeast Denver. The art installation sits adjacent to RTD’s new 40th & Colorado Rail Station on the A Line running between Union Station and Denver International Airport. The artwork is of a huge scale: a 120 foot long by 16 foot high vibrantly colored mural planned and implemented under the leadership of Birdseed Collective, a Denver arts organization.
Birdseed was commissioned for the first art installation through a nine month long competitive process led by a Community Advisory Committee. The primary Birdseed artists who designed and completed the mural were Anthony Garcia, Sr. and Thomas Scharfenberg. Several area youth also took part in helping paint the mural.
The mural, “Wrapping Multicultural Communities in a Blanket of Unity Through Visionary Art” represents the weaving together of designs traditional to both the Hispanic Serape blanket and the African-American Kente blanket. Each represent the long standing populations in the communities located in surrounding neighborhoods. It was Urban Land Conservancy’s goal, as the sponsor of this public artwork, that what was created would not only activate the pathway beneath Colorado Blvd., but also act as artwork that inspires unity and diverse communities coming together in Northeast Denver.
An additional unique element of the artwork is the individually painted rocks, together lining both sides of the paved pathway the length of the mural. These rocks – weighing in at over four tons – were painted by community members at four separate public events over the past few weeks.
In attendance as planned speakers for the ceremony was: Tony Pickett, VP Of Master Site Development at ULC, City Councilwoman Robin Kniech, City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, Ginger White-Brunetti of Denver’s Arts and Venues and Rebecca Vaughan of PlatteForum. The mural artists Anthony Garcia Sr. and Thomas Scharfenberg both spoke at the event as well.
This public artwork was made possible by a grant from Denver’s Arts and Venues’ “P.S. You Are Here” program, as well as grant funding from the national art and place making organization ArtPlace America.
As part of the event, Urban Land Conservancy also held a 303 ArtWay bike giveaway. A local area youth who helped with the painting of the mural, Charlie McKee, was the lucky winner of the custom-made 303 ArtWay-themed Villy Customs Cruiser Bike.
For those who live in Denver, we hope you take the opportunity to take the A Line to the 40th & Colorado Rail Station and check out the incredibly bright and inspirational work of art that really now activates the path underneath Colorado Blvd!