Three artists worked to install murals on the streets of Olde Town Arvada beginning on Sept. 9, completing the murals by Sept. 15 in advance of the upcoming Jackalope Denver arts festival slated for …
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Three artists worked to install murals on the streets of Olde Town Arvada beginning on Sept. 9, completing the murals by Sept. 15 in advance of the upcoming Jackalope Denver arts festival slated for Sept. 18 and 19.
Volunteers primed the streets on Sept. 8 and artists Chelsea Hart, Talia Parsell Swartz and Kailey Geary began on their murals the next day.
While the installation of the murals was timed to coincide with the Jackalope festival, Olde Town Business Improvement Director Joe Hengstler said that the goal is to keep the murals as part of the Olde Town landscape for the foreseeable future.
“Our goal is to have the murals as long as we possibly can,” said Hengstler, “understanding that when you install them on streets, there’s definitely some challenges in maintaining them and keeping them long-term, whether that be people walking over them or elements in the winter. We do want to make sure these are a semi-permanent feature of Olde Town.”
The three artists were chosen after an application process handled by the Olde Town BID and the Arvada Arts and Culture Commission, wherein artist from across the state submitted mural proposals. The artist chosen were picked because of the selection committee felt their proposals would fit the project best, according to Hengstler.
Hart, a Denver-based artist, said she’s done murals for the past five years and really got into them last summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people outside. She said she hopes her abstract, colorful mural brightens the Olde Town community.
“I just think public art adds positivity to the community,” said Hart. “There are so many good aspects when creating public art and putting it into a community. I’m happy to be a part of that positive change. I hope it brightens someone’s day.”
Parsell Swartz said that she hoped her mural would reflect the area’s mountain views and layered landscape.
“The piece starts down in the layers of the earth, soil, and then transitions up to the grasslands and river and mountains and continues up to the sky,” said Parsell Swartz. “I’m doing a really long vertical piece on Olde Wadsworth and the idea behind it was that I wanted to reflect Arvada’s layers landscape and also represent the connectedness that humans long for.”
Hengstler said that in conjunction with other art projects recently implemented by the city, including the Gateway project, the murals are part of a concerted effort to improve Arvada’s arts and culture footprint.
“I think this really solidifies our public art as far as art and culture goes,” said Hengstler. “I think it’s a really positive direction to be headed in.”
The Jackalope festival will be held in Olde Town Arvada on Sept. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free and the festival is open to the public.
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