Best Highway Beautification Project (2005)
"Currents and Eddies"
The elevated portion of I-70 that cuts across north Denver is an ugly behemoth that scarred the Swansea and Elyria neighborhoods -- which is one reason there's talk of moving the highway out of there. In the meantime, though, as part of a bigger effort to ennoble ignoble spaces along I-70, the Colorado Department of Transportation commissioned artists to do murals. Among them was Martha Daniels, who, in her biggest piece ever, festooned the Washington Street underpass with "Currents and Eddies," a tile mural. Using both ready-made and artist-made tiles, the mural abstractly conveys the nearby Platte River -- and does so beautifully. In this case, at least, CDOT made the best of a bad situation.