The Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) celebrates the achievements of its partnerships that create and preserve nonprofit facilities and affordable housing for communities in metro Denver. ULC’s Monthly Partner Spotlight is awarded to partners who demonstrate the value of collaboration, furthering our mission to improve the lives of Metro Denver residents through our real estate investments and community assets.

Congratulations to our April 2017 Partner Spotlight of the Month:  Birdseed Collective!

Founded in 2010 by a group of artists and $300, Birdseed Collective has grown into a thriving nonprofit organization dedicated to making positive impacts in local communities. Through community art projects, healthy living initiatives and economic opportunities, Birdseed has transformed the lives of artists, youth and community members. Today, Birdseed is contracted by various organizations and local city governments as a visionary to create and install art throughout metro Denver.

Carla Padilla is the Associate Director at Birdseed Collective, and has experienced her organization’s growth first hand. Padilla highlighted Birdseed’s first seven years since inception – from $100,000 + city grants to fund art installations to tackling food deserts in the Globeville neighborhood.

“I am very proud of our growth, and believe our biggest strength is our ability to implement large-scale projects,” Padilla said. “Yet we are still able to focus on community level work. We have been very successful in our ability to do both.”

Birdseed Collective recruited local youth to help paint the art installation. | Photo courtesy, Alana Romans
Birdseed Collective recruited local youth to help paint the art installation. | Photo courtesy, Alana Romans

In 2016, ULC was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Denver Arts & Venues’ P.S. You are Here program to help fund a 120 x 16 foot mural adjacent to the 40th and Colorado Station on the A Line Commuter Rail in Denver. A community committee then selected Birdseed Collective to create this art installation, titled, “Wrapping Multicultural Communities in a Blanket of Unity through Visionary Art,” which marks the first art display on the 303 ArtWay, a proposed 9-mile art, heritage and culture urban trail that ULC is working to plan, design and identify funding for development. The pedestrian and bike friendly route will guide people through historical assets, shopping districts and service amenities throughout Greater Park Hill and 4 other surrounding neighborhoods.

Anthony Garcia, the founder of Birdseed Collective and lead artist for the project, based the design off of patterns found in traditional African kente and Mexican serape blankets. The final product is meant to demonstrate the symbolic blending of cultures and communities in the area.

“Here at Birdseed, we aim to actively work with communities to understand how best we can support and represent them through our artwork,” Garcia explained. “With this mural, we hoped to bridge together the many cultures present in Park Hill and Elyria-Swansea. Thanks to the long hours and dedication of many artists and local community members, I think our hard work has paid off.”

Birdseed Collective painted over 50 dumpsters in the Sun Valley neighborhood. | Photo courtesy, Westword,
Birdseed Collective painted over 50 dumpsters in the Sun Valley neighborhood. | Photo courtesy, Westword,

The mural along the 303 ArtWay is just one of the many ways Birdseed continues to brighten Denver neighborhoods through creative – and effective – art projects. In 2016, Birdseed completed the dumpster art project in the Sun Valley neighborhood, in West Denver. Through a 2016 P.S. You are Here Grant, Birdseed commissioned the work of multiple artists to paint 53 dumpsters in the neighborhood (an example of their mission towards providing economic opportunities to local residents).  The collective has also been commissioned to paint bus benches, street art, tree art and many other art projects to help brighten and beautify the city.

Aside from local artwork, Birdseed takes pride in their healthy living initiatives, as Padilla highlighted the importance of “feeding the body, nurturing the mind and healing the soul.” Their role in local communities is extensive and ranges from participation weekly food distributions at the Globeville Recreation Center to local lessons on healthy food alternatives and the benefits of freezing food to better preserve it. Birdseed is also introducing an at home herb gardening class, a 12-week program providing participants with planters and gardening lessons. Birdseed recently purchased a greenhouse in Globeville for the project and received an $80,000 grant through the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED).

Tony Pickett, VP of Master Site Development at ULC (left) celebrates the ribbon cutting ceremony with local community members. | Photo courtesy, Will Kralovec.
Tony Pickett, VP of Master Site Development at ULC (left) celebrates the ribbon cutting ceremony with local community members. | Photo courtesy, Will Kralovec.
Thomas Scharfenberg obtained and painted thousands of pounds of rocks for the art installation.
Thomas Scharfenberg obtained and painted thousands of pounds of rocks for the art installation.

As the art installation at 40th and Colorado was officially unveiled and celebrated with community this past Saturday, ULC is proud to work with Birdseed Collective as a partner on 303 ArtWay, and we look forward to identifying new projects where we can tap into their creative and community driven talents. Until then, congratulations on your latest success and we are excited to see how you will brighten the city next!

For more information on Birdseed Collective, please visit and like their website here.

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