In 1988, Denver Mayor Federico Peña established the Denver Public Art Program, which dedicates 1 percent of all capital improvement projects to be set aside for the inclusion of art. That has led to millions of dollars of art projects for the Colorado Convention Center, incorporating art as an important part of the building.
"The Colorado Convention Center is one of the largest public buildings in Denver and arguably one of the largest art galleries in the state. Public art adds color and whimsy to a building with a lot of wall space."
Denver Arts & Venues
In 2014, nine new pieces of art valued at $350,000 were added to the center. Some of the artworks to be found include:
A series of 10 gigantic murals that depict the landscape of Denver over 500 million years, during which time the region underwent amazing changes from a tropical rainforest to sandy desert, and even a period when Denver was underwater.
“The Heavy Is The Root Of The Light”, a 95-by-95 foot painting by Mindy Bray covers an entire wall and is based on photographs of the Platte River at nearby Confluence Park, the site where gold was first discovered leading to the founding of Denver in 1858.
A 160-foot long creation that spans an entire hallway by Sandra Fettingis, entitled “I Know You Know That I Know,” creates an environment that envelops the viewer in a repetitive pattern-filled corridor.
Denver’s most famous piece of public art is also its most beloved resident – the 40-foot-tall, 10,000 pound Blue Bear peering in the windows of the convention center has delighted locals and convention attendees since 2005. The bear – officially named “I See What You Mean” - was designed by artist Lawrence Argent and injects a welcome sense of fun and playfulness into the convention center experience. As Argent put it, “The bear needs the building, and the building needs the bear.”
"The Blue Bear has become a symbol of the Colorado Convention Center, but the bear should really be green, to symbolize all the money that is brought into the city from that building."
Denver City Council