Imagine a city where no artistic expression is off limits. Where gallery artists break down walls, literally and figuratively, to create public art that's not only welcomed by the city, but praised. You can imagine all that, and more, when Denver Arts + Venues hosts an all-day symposium on Imagine 2020, the city's cultural plan, at the McNichols Building tomorrow. "The program isn’t just about public art," explains Michael Chavez, public art manager for Arts + Venues. "We will cover urban planning, creative economy and social practice. I am very excited to hear from several very intelligent and creative people discussing the past, present and future of public art, especially how it pertains to our rapidly growing city. The creative energy is bursting in Denver and we want to be a positive conduit for it. "
The keynote speaker will be Jon Rubin, a recent recipient of the Creative Capital Award and a finalist for the International Award for Participatory Art, who'll discuss some of his public art projects, all interventions against the mundane. He's created absurd and brilliant installations like "The Last Billboard" (above), a radio station in an abandoned neighborhood that only plays the sound of an extinct bird, and a barter-based art school. Mayor Michael Hancock will speak after Rubin. From there, the programming will move to a panel — featuring Marisa Lerer, Beth Mosenthal and Caryn Champin — pondering the big question (or the "big why," according to Arts + Venues: Why public art? And then local artists Mandy Renaud, Wopo Holup, Sandra Fettingis and Patrick Marold will take on the topic "From the Studio to the Street: Several Journeys Toward Making Public Art."
"From Application to Installation" will feature government officials working on public art: Rudi Cerri, public art administrator for Denver Arts & Venues; Raquel Vasquez, manager of client services for WESTAF; and Brenda Tierney, RTD public art manager. The day concludes with Conor McGarrigle, Yumi Janairo Roth, Gamma Acosta and the Ladies Fancywork Society discussing "Public Art and Social Practice."
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The Imagine 2020 symposium runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15; you can come for the entire day or just take in a program or two. Either way, tickets are $20 ($25 at the door); buy them here, where you can see the entire Imagine 2020 schedule.