Denver, CO

Denver spends $2.8 million on public art for convention center, National Western Center, 16th Street Mall

David Heitz
An artist's rendition of a new suspended sculpture planned for Colorado Convention Center.Photo byCity and County of Denver

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The Denver City Council approved more public art projects Monday costing $2.8 million.

Cliff Garten and Associates of Venice, California will receive $1.2 million to design an approximately 130-foot by 20-foot suspended aluminum and blown glass sculpture for the Colorado Convention Center's D lobby. “The sculpture is a conceptual rendering of the mountains and rivers of Colorado,” according to a memo from city staff to the council. “ The goal of the artwork is to engage visitors from multiple locations and levels, and it is also visible to viewers from the center's exterior.”

Barn will adorn National Western Center
This sculpture will adorn the grounds of National Western Center.Photo byCity and County of Denver

The council also approved a “barn-like” piece of art for the grounds of National Western Center at a cost of $850,000, more than double the original estimate for the piece. “Post-pandemic challenges including inflation, supply chain issues and cost of materials and labor increases have made it critically necessary to add funds to complete the project,” according to the memo. “The project has already been scaled down in scope, however, funds are still needed to realize the project.”

Artist Matthew Mazzotta is under contract to create an open-air “barnlike” structure 60 feet by 30 feet, according to the memo. “The artwork will include slow-moving swings, lighting, and a local artist’s mural on the roof. The project will lead viewers along the Riverfront and create an artistic destination for the National Western Center audience and the communities across the South Platte River.”

Mazzotta, of New York, will work with Denver artist Bimmer Torres to create the mural on the roof. “The structure will provide shade, seating, swings, and a colorful focal point along the riverfront open space,” according to the memo.

Stainless steel trees to sprout on 16th Street Mall
Shimmering, stainless steel Aspen trees that appear to change colors when viewed from different angles will sprout on 16th Street Mall.Photo byCity and County of Denver

Finally, the council will pay $750,000 to plant stainless steel aspen trees on 16th Street Mall. The trees will be between 22 and 30 feet tall “making them visible from a distance and allowing them to cast shimmering colored light across a vast expanse,” according to a memo from city staff to a council committee. “The goal of colorful sculptures is to enhance the visitor’s experience on the mall by engaging multiple senses, harnessing tactile, light, and sound components.”

The trees, by Poetic Kinetics, Inc., will appear to change colors when viewed from different angles.

A 13-member art selection panel that included community members, an artist and art professional, and Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca chose the sculptures. Mayor Federico Pena established the city’s public art program in 1988. The City Council in 1991 directed that 1% of any capital improvement budget of $1 million or more be set aside for new public art. Since 1988, approximately 300 artworks have been commissioned and installed.

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 5

Published by

I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

More from David Heitz

Comments / 0