Denver, CO

Denver spends $725,292 on more public art

David Heitz
"The Yearling" sits outside the Denver Public Library downtown branch. More public art is coming to the library and other Denver locations.City and County of Denver

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Denver has public art tucked into nooks and crannies around town. Now the city plans to spend another $725,292 on more public art.

The City Council will vote on a contract Monday to hire New Mexico artist Paula Castillo to create three pieces. Inspiration for the works will come from Indigenous language history. The art will decorate the Denver Art Museum (14th and Bannock), Central Library (Broadway side) and Acoma Plaza (12th and Acoma).

Art Museum, library, Acoma Plaza getting sculptures

In Ponti Plaza at the museum, the piece will consist of a stainless-steel sculpture up to 32 feet tall atop a tri-pod pedestal of stainless-steel poles. The piece for the Central Library will be up to 16 feet tall and made from laminated glass or porcelain enamel and stainless-steel supports. The large "X" sculpture will be placed near the entrance to the library.

"These pieces will serve as welcoming gateways onto the campus and will invite further research and discovery at both institutions," according to a memo from city staff to council.

Stainless-steel "trestle" shapes will be attached over the elevated pedestrian ramp to Acoma Plaza at 13th and Acoma. The lowest arch will be nine feet or taller, and the tallest will be 23 feet.

The contract amount is all-inclusive and covers everything from the artist's design fee to transportation and installation costs.

Reviews praise Castillo's artistry

THE Magazine says Castillo is "A priestess of postmodern metallurgy, recombining the scrap and detritus of Industry into abstract sculptures that quietly reckon with earth and man. Castillo's sculptures manage to turn steel byproducts into amorphous shapes that are often organic or animated. Her materials are repurposed and recycled, yet the past lives and stories of the scrap lurk and echo within like an untold story of aspiration and waste."

The materials for Castillo's art come from "worn metal bits found in the mountainous country of her hometown --a land that looks back hundreds of years to its earliest Indigenous inhabitants, and beyond," wrote Kathryn Davis of

Castillo will collaborate with city staff

The city put out a call for bids on the art project, and 341 artists responded. A 15-member art selection panel chose Castillo.

"The artist will work with public art staff, members of the design and construction team, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Landmark Preservation Commission and Denver Art Museum and Denver Library staff when creating the preliminary and final designs," according to the memo from council.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

Denver, CO

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