Can Art Change Your Community?

For the last week and a half, I’ve been working alongside muralist, Jennie Milner, to create a new mural in Loveland called “Beet Town.” Earlier this year, I created an indoor mural for Centennial Elementary, also located in Loveland, so this felt like a natural progression in my self-imposed education about public art. With the mural almost complete, we took the day off and headed down to Denver to see some of the new murals (and old ones) located in the RiNo Art District. I’ve never taken time to walk the streets of a city just to look at the public art. I highly recommend it!

We saw garage door murals, murals that spanned two stories, murals that were just simple shapes and others that included amazing detail and texture. Every known genre was represented on the outdoor facades of the RiNo district. The diversity was thrilling. We spent time talking about the details, colors, and imagery of the murals that “spoke” to us. We each liked different ones for different reasons.

It was a great afternoon and it cost us nothing but gas to go down and see it. Public art is free for the community and for visitors to enjoy, but it is valuable beyond measure. Jennie grew up in the Denver area and was telling us about how the RiNo District was not a place you would want to take your friends and stroll down the alleys . It was a “harder” part of town that had seen better days. When RiNo became an art district and the city started to invest in creative measures to restore the area, things started to change and now, it is a “hot” spot to live and work. Art did this. Art changed an avoided place into a beautiful place that people come to see and be inspired by. Public art has this magical way of elevating the people it comes in contact with. Not only the visitors but the residents. When artists spend time making towns beautiful with their mark, the community members take pride in their homes and strive to make it a place that is worth restoring. To see more examples of how public art has changed neighborhoods, you can click here.

I am so glad I got a chance to see the effect of public art because often, as an artist, you don’t get to see that end result. It takes time. 10, 20, 30 years. Change doesn’t come quickly. I’m excited to get more and more involved in public art, whether it’s leading projects or simply cleaning out brushes and getting Jennie water while she changes our town. Either way, art will change our community and I get to be a part of it.

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