A Walk in the Park

Burns Park is a hidden jewel in plain sight: Trapped in a traffic-heavy triangle bordered by Colorado Boulevard, Alameda Avenue and Leetsdale Drive, it’s in the middle of the action but rarely used. Still, the tiny park has a storied past that includes four big-name modern-minimalist sculptures, the remaining pieces out of nine works originally placed there as part of a temporary installation for the 1968 Denver Sculpture Symposium, as well as a couple of interloping pieces added over the years. Never built to last, some of the sculptures have been refurbished or rebuilt, while others were torn down long ago. The city has long pondered what to do about the park — and now Denver Arts & Venues is looking for public input as it works to simply raise awareness of it.

That’s where Experience 1968, a free community festival celebrating the park’s past and possible future, comes in. “We want to give people a sense of history about Burns Park,” says Rudi Cerri of Denver Public Art. “So we decided to bring back a little bit of that feeling from 1968, when people used to stroll there and have picnics.” The city is not only inviting folks to bring blankets and a picnic to the park today to enjoy the space and its art as they might have decades ago, but also to learn something about its history. And as a kind of test project, six local artists have been invited to build temporary installations from large flats of cardboard (or, in the case of choreographer Tara Rynders, dance among the sculptures) during the event. “Then we can see how things would look with more artwork in the park,” Cerri notes.

Be a part of Experience 1968 today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Burns Park, 250 South Colorado Boulevard; there’s limited parking in the small lot at the south end of the park on Alameda. For more information, go to the Facebook event page.
Sat., Aug. 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2014

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd