14th Street Overlay adds 23 sculptures -- and some surprises -- to 14th Street

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Denver has a new piece of public art, 14th Street Overlay, which comprises 23 optic-based sculptures by artists Merek Walczak and Wes Heiss. "We are very excited to dedicate this piece as part of the greater 14th Street improvements," said Michael Chavez, manager of Denver's Public Art Program, at yesterday's dedication.

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Mayor Michael Hancock was one of the many proud Denverites on hand to welcome 14th Street Overlay. "The heartbeat of a world-class city is the public art," he told the crowd.

The collection was commissioned by the city, and combines the past, the present and the future of 14th Street. Walczak and Heiss worked on the project for four years, doing planning, research and building. "We are excited about the idea of creating a private idea in a public space," said Weiss. "We are proud that we have created a way to time travel."

For the dedication yesterday, all the pieces in the collection had a pink balloon tied to them, creating a guided tour along the twelve blocks that house 14th Street Overlay. But in the future, the cast-iron sculptures will not be marked, because the artists wanted to create a kind of treasure hunt for locals and visitors alike. All the pieces have an interactive element; once the viewer discovers each one, they will find an image within the sculpture. Each sculpture also has a bar code that can be scanned with a smartphone; the code takes the viewer to a website that describes each piece in detail. To experience 14th Street Overlay, head to 14th Street between Colfax and Larimer Street -- and start exploring.

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