Northglenn turns to wired horses to decorate N-Line station

Murals, sculptures to go up in September before train’s debut

Scott Taylor
staylor@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/11/20

New artwork designed to decorate one of Metro Denver’s newest train stations will harken back to the early days of transportation. “Horses have always been one of the original forms of …

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Northglenn turns to wired horses to decorate N-Line station

Murals, sculptures to go up in September before train’s debut

Posted

New artwork designed to decorate one of Metro Denver’s newest train stations will harken back to the early days of transportation.

“Horses have always been one of the original forms of transportation,” said Michael Stricker, cultural programs supervisor for the City of Northglenn and director for the Northglenn Arts and Humanities Foundation. “We are celebrating all of these forms of transportation throughout the ages, all of it anchored with the horse.”

RTD is scheduled to debut rail service on the N-Line Sept. 21. That’s the long-awaited the commuter rail line connecting Denver’s Union Station with the Eastlake Station in Thornton, with stops in Commerce City and Northglenn along the way.

Like Northglenn, Thornton will decorate the N-line’s terminus with public art, sculptures and murals.

The N-Line was announced in 2013 and was originally scheduled to begin service in 2018. Powered cars began moving along the route in April 2019 for testing.

“Everybody here has just been waiting so long, and we have a lot of former and current City Councilors and mayors that have been involved in transportation issues and trying to secure this and get it to move forward,” Northglenn Communications Director Diana Wilson said. “We wanted to have an opportunity to invite those people for the actual opening in person. So, we’re announcing that we’re having a small reception, but it’s not like it’s going to be a big party.”

But a key feature for the Sept. 21 opening of the train line will be debut of the public art that will decorate Northglenn’s station at 11355 York St.

Stricker said the city decided to place one of it’s newest pieces of art in station’s bus roundabout. That’s a life-sized sculpture of a horse built from metal wire — including barbed wire with the sharp points removed — called “Salvere“. Michigan sculptor Jeff Best’s piece was selected as the favorite by residents at last year’s Art on Parade and was added to the city’s collection.

“It’s going up as a stand-alone piece there,” Stricker said. “He created a companion for it, a second horse, so we are getting that horse as well. So we’ll have two horses there, draft horses connected with a yoke, installed at the bus roundabout.”

Next, the city commissioned Best to make sculptures and mural panels to decorate the station’s wall alongside the tracks. Best has designed laser-etched metal panels each depicting historic American transportation, from steam engine locomotives and horse-drawn buggies to modern trains. More wire horses, similar to Best’s main sculpture but smaller, will be placed in between each panel.

In all, the mural should be about 180 feet long.

“We decided to run with the idea of transportation as the theme for this site,” Stricker said. “That’s where this thing really took off. So we went to Jeff and he provided a proposal for a large scale sculpture project at the station.”

Wraps

All of the N-line’s stations will have electrical and communication boxes decorated with vinyl wraps, a standard set by RTD itself. In Northglenn, the city tapped Northglenn muralist Jerry Jaramillo to design the vinyl wraps.

“RTD has made it a goal to do this at each of the light rail stations, so ours has three large electrical boxes about eight-feet-tall,” Stricker said. “It’s a different kind of medium, so we went with a local muralist. Jerry has been doing murals all up and down the Front Range for almost 30 years, but he’s never done one for us. We thought this would be a great opportunity.”

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