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Northglenn prepares for 17th annual public art parade

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For the folks at Northglenn’s Arts and Humanities Foundation, the annual Arts on Parade program is more than a way to get people out to see the city’s public sculptures.

Cultural Programs Supervisor Michael Stricker’s said it’s one of the ways the foundation is helping to turn Northglenn’s parking lots, parks and street corners into a public gallery.

“Public art really is the purest form of accessible art because there is no admission fee,” Stricker said. “You get to walk right up and touch it. It is in our backyard.”

The annual chance to add to the city’s catalog of public art continues this summer. Northglenn’s Art on Parade outdoor sculpture-on-loan program is set to begin its 17th year with the installation of six new sculptures this month at E.B. Rains Jr. Memorial Park, 11800 Community Center Dr.

Artists loan their pieces to the program for one year and park patrons vote for their favorite sculpture each season.

The city encourages residents to visit the park and the sculptures at their leisure, selecting their favorite.

“We want to make sure that public art out there is by their choice, and that’s been the success of the program,” Stricker said. “No one telling them what belongs in their park. They tell us what they like.”

And then, the foundation buys the winner for the city.

“We wanted to make sure the art work and the public are as close together as possible,” Stricker said. “We don’t have an exclusive committee choosing our art — it’s literally the public.”

The foundation should begin removing the sculptures that were a part of the 2017 program in May, replacing them with the 2018 contenders. The 2018 sculptures will remain arranged around the park through May of 2019.

The winning sculpture each year is purchased by the Northglenn Arts and Humanities Foundation and donated to the city for permanent placement, with the winning artist claiming a $1,000 prize.

The six works picked for 2018’s tour were chosen in February by a volunteer committee. Those works are: Luna by Dejan Pejovic, Matriarchal Moon Creature by Reven Swanson, Military Wing Bench by Victoria Patti, Stars on Parade by John Banks, Synapse on the Breeze by Michael Dunton, and Wings of Freedom by Dimitry Domani Spiridon.

The program is funded by the Northglenn Arts and Humanities Foundation and the Adams County Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Voting will begin June 18, and residents can cast their ballots online at the foundation’s website, northglennarts.org.

A piece at a time

So far, Northglenn boasts 26 public installations in its collection and not all of them started out in the Arts on Parade. The city’s newest installation went up this year in the parking lot of Webster Commons, off of 120th Avenue and Grant. The piece, “Native Grasses” by Oregon artist C.J. Rench, is actually four sculptures arranged around the retention pond at the center of the center’s parking lot. Each metal and clear acrylic sculpture depicts a different kind of grass that’s native to Colorado’s climate.

“Instead of being plant sized, they are each 25 feet tall,” Stricker said. “There are four of them and they are all made of steel and the little seeds are acrylic, so the sun shines through them.”

It’s one of the few purely commissioned pieces the city owns.

“It’s so new, the little plaques that will label each piece haven’t been installed yet,” Stricker said.

The winning sculpture at last year’s parade was “Butterflies”, a piece by California artist Patricia Vader. The piece is a kinetic sculpture featuring spinning aluminum disks and colorful reflectors mounted to a butterfly that’s designed to move in the wind, reflecting sunlight.

Stricker said it’ll be removed from the park this month.

“Right now, we are in the process of figuring out where the best place to put that is,” he said. “Since it’s going to be a permanent piece, we want to make sure it’s a really good spot and the butterfly is just huge. So we’ll have to put it in storage for a little bit, just because of its size.”

The 2016 winner, “See Through Other Eyes: Spotted Owl” was designed by Colorado’s Ellen Woodbury. It invites viewers to step up and peer through the owl’s eyes. It was installed on the eastern edge of the Northwest Open Space, along a Farmers Highline Canal trail.

“So you can’t drive to it,” he said. “It celebrates old growth forests and preserving wild life.”

The remaining sculptures each year are also available for sale to the public. Another piece from the 2016 program, the sculpture “Tires and Spokes”, was purchased by Northglenn resident Steve Austin and donated to the city on behalf of the Northglenn Bike Program last month. That piece was placed in the Eleanor M. Wyatt/ Centennial Park, near the intersection of Kennedy and Melody drives, April 26.

The city hosts a guided tour of the entire collection each summer.

“There’s no charge for it and it’s open to anyone, but it does tend to fill up,” he said. “They do sell out, but that’s good because that means we can add more dates.”

Those run from May through August.

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