You turn a corner and there it is, this unexpected work of art. Whimsical, puzzling, jarring, or ethereal—and a multitude of other possibilities—art gives us pause. For even a second as your gaze takes it in, your day has been transformed. Maybe you linger longer, contemplative, and someone sidles up next to you, a stranger, and suddenly you’re having a conversation. Or sharing a laugh. Maybe even a mutual perplexity that continues as you go separate ways.
Public art energizes. It invites that second look; it incites an emotional or intellectual reconsideration. It refreshes the landscape and those traversing it.
That’s the intention behind Art on the Streets. Begun in 1999, this annual outdoor exhibition has brought more nearly 160 works of art to the Downtown experience. Each year, artists from around the world compete for acceptance into the show, and each year a renowned Star Juror chooses up to 15 pieces. They remain installed throughout the district for a year, and then the process repeats.
Usually, one or more artworks are purchased from the annual exhibit; some privately, others as an extension of the program. Can you imagine Downtown without the gigantic sunflowers along South Cascade? Or absent the mischievous Humpty Dumpty in front of the Pikes Peak Center? What if there were no sweet Bella and the Bug in Acacia Park?
Art on the Streets is the signature program of Community Ventures, Inc., a Downtown Partnership partner. It’s presented by U.S. Bank and supported by Nor’wood Development Group, G.E. Johnson and H. Chase Stone Trust. Donations to help purchase more permanent works can be made to Community Ventures, Inc.
Artists interested in submitting for the next exhibit can find detailed information here.
The surprise of unexpected art keeps Downtown vibrant. What will you discover on your next visit?