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Great art isn’t just in museums in Denver. All over the city, you’ll find gorgeous murals, whimsical sculptures and other kinds of public art that will delight and inspire. Denver’s Public Art Program directs that 1 percent of any capital improvement project over $1 million be set aside for the inclusion of art in the design and construction of these projects. Over the past 18 years, Denver has installed more than 150 works of art under this program. A large amount of the city’s public art can be found Downtown and in the Golden Triangle Creative District – here’s a walking tour of the area that will take you to some of the best and most beloved pieces.
Continue walking past the library and you'll find yourself in Civic Center Park, a lovely oasis in the midst of Downtown Denver's urban setting. All over the park there are wonderful pieces of vintage public art, from Frederick MacMonnies' inspiring Pioneer Fountain (installed in 1911) to Robert Garrison's Sea Lions Fountain (1922) to the iconic Bronco Buster, created by Alexander Phimister Proctor in 1920.
Across Colfax Street from Civic Center Park, you'll find yourself at the tip of the 16th Street Mall, one of Denver's most popular attractions for dining, shopping, people watching - and public art almost everywhere you look. There are too many wonderful pieces to list here, but just keep your eyes open for such artworks as the chess tables between Arapahoe and Lawrence Streets, the King & Queen (giant-sized chess pieces) outside Market Street Station and the herd of brightly colored cows that populate the sidewalks between Larimer and Market Streets. The mall itself, designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, is a work of art in and of itself, with a pattern of granite blocks that make up the transit lanes and sidewalks mimicking the skin of a Western Diamondback rattlesnake.