Public art is one of the most obvious expressions of a city's culture and creativity — and there's no shortage of it in The Mile High City. From vibrant murals to our beloved Blue Bear, Denver's public art makes a stroll through the city a cultural experience all its own.
Start with our downtown Denver public art walking tour. Here are 10 must-see pieces:
Donald Lipski's sculpture features a life-size horse standing atop an enormous red chair outside the Denver Public Library.
The lawn of the Denver Performing Arts Complex seems an appropriate place for two 60-foot-tall fiberglass dancers. Visitors are encouraged to join in, too — music plays from speakers at the base 24 hours a day.
Love This City
This series of three murals in three neighborhoods — Arts District on Santa Fe, Golden Triangle and River North Arts District — expresses a vibrant love of Denver with vivid colors and heart, bird and music motifs unique to each.
MAN AND WOMAN
THE EVOLUTION OF THE BALL
Baseball fans and art lovers can agree on one thing — Lonnie Hanzon's ceramic and steel archway offers the perfect entry to Coors Field. It's even topped with a giant purple Colorado Rockies baseball!
SCOTTISH ANGUS COW AND CALF
This larger-than-life-size pair outside the Denver Art Museum harkens back to Colorado's ranching past and is a favorite among animal-loving youngsters (and adults).
If abstract art is more up your alley, the Denver Art Museum is also home to this soaring 16-ton steel sculpture, which was constructed of industrial I-beams by award-winning artist Mark di Suvero.
Three puffy white clouds — constructed from steel by artist Christopher Lavery — originally greeted drivers along Pena Boulevard on the way to and from Denver International Airport. Now, they can be seen from I-25, where they grace the entrance to the Children's Museum of Denver.
No roundup of Denver's public art would be complete without mentioning one of the city's most iconic — and polarizing — pieces. Whatever your opinion of the gargantuan blue horse with glowing red eyes towering above Pena Boulevard near Denver International Airport, he's certainly hard to miss!
Denver's Commitment to Public Art
Denver's commitment to public art runs deep. So deep, in fact, that it eventually made its way into law! Denver’s Arts & Venues Public Art Program was established in 1988 and directs that 1 percent of any capital improvement project over $1 million undertaken by the city be set aside for the inclusion of art in the design and construction of the project. Now, Denver's public art collection numbers more then 300 pieces, meaning that you'll likely encounter something to please the eye or challenge your aesthetic sensibilities around every corner. The collection includes artwork by both local artists and internationally recognized artists, acquainting Denver's citizens and visitors with traditional art forms as well as works of art considered to be cutting edge.
Denver International Airport also has gotten into the public art spirit and features its own collection. Throughout the airport, you'll see beautiful murals, captivating sculptures and whimsical installation pieces.