StapleFUN : Public Art in Stapleton
By Barbara Neal
Public Art Consultant for Stapleton
“Home is where the art is” or at least nearby. Stapleton is home to more than a dozen public artworks in parks, in civic spaces and in neighborhoods. Founders Fountain is still a magnet drawing people to the 29th Avenue Town Center. Landmark Prairie Reef welcomes people entering Stapleton from the south. The earth cast forms of Chorus, in Westerly Creek Park natural area, transform the area and contrast with the two digital artworks at the Recreation Center. The neighborhood north of Central Park features The Picnic, bronze dogs enjoying a languid picnic.
Public art at Stapleton gives meaning and enjoyment to public spaces by creating a sense of place. The Eye and the Horizon (After Monet) forms a frame through which observers can see two significant features of Stapleton: education and recreation. Looking south one sees Westerly Creek Elementary School and the view to the north is Central Park. Garden Stories in the community garden at Greenway Park celebrates this community enterprise with its sculptural display of plant forms and garden tools. The three Airfoils at Northfield acknowledge Stapleton’s long history as an airport.
These examples reflect the intent of the selection committees, which is composed of residents, artists and representatives of community interests, who identify sites and select artists to create unique artwork that highlights its importance in the life of Stapleton. Criteria for artwork include artistic excellence, suitability to the site and how the site is used, public access and sustainability. Each artwork now has developed a special relationship or dialogue with its site and its neighbors.
Stapleton is fortunate to have an expanding Public Art Collection which includes artwork commissioned by The Park Creek Metropolitan District with percent for art funds provided by the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) as well as artwork funded by a percent for art associated with the Better Denver Bond projects. Public art installations planned for additional Stapleton neighborhoods – including Eastbridge and the Central Park Station – will add to the unique and lively ambiance of Stapleton.