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One of the city's now-closed emergency shelters.
One of the city's now-closed emergency shelters.
Chris Walker

Reader: Give the Commission to a Homeless Artist, Not Some Yupster!

The City and County of Denver just announced that it is accepting applications for three new Denver Public Art commissions, including $40,000 for an artist or arts group to create work at a newly renovated Emergency Homeless Shelter at 4330 East 48th Avenue.

The mandate: Create comforting work that gives people at the shelter a sense of peace, relaxation and hope. Better yet, involve the people experiencing homelessness in the process of making art.

Even though the 1 percent for art rule is a city mandate, hearing that $40,000 will go to this piece does not give readers a sense of peace. Says Dave: 

Who are these jokers? How about they spend <$10K on the art and use the $30K or more to actually help homeless people?

But Victoria responds:

 I honestly think it should pay more. This person will need to have a degree in art therapy and possibly a specialization in trauma focused therapy and will deserve to be compensated accordingly.

Replies Chris:

 How about we don't waste ANY money on art that have no actual benefit for the homeless? Get ready: The voters of Denver are about to ruin every park in the city. After they pass 300 every park in town will be filled with trash, needles and human waste.

Notes Kym: 

The $40K is only 1% of the budget. The city started requiring that to help make Denver more beautiful. People need to chill out. Maybe you could if you had more art in your life.

Comments Greg:

 Sure wouldn't want to use the $40K on actual services. You know, like healthcare, psychiatry/psychology, sobriety... or food.

Adds Marcus:

 It could be barren for all they care, it's a shelter. Give them the money or resources they need instead of feeding off the greed of grants given for "helping" the homeless stay homeless.

And Michael concludes: 

 Commission homeless artists within the shelter to do it. Not some Yupster in the "art scene." Giving someone a purpose to get back on track instead of some weenie a means to pad their resume and social media "likes" is a more profound statement.

Keep reading for more on Denver's shelter system and public art program:

Reader: Give the Commission to a Homeless Artist, Not Some Yupster!
Westword

"As Winter Looms, Here's an Overview of the City's Homeless Shelter System"

Reader: Give the Commission to a Homeless Artist, Not Some Yupster!
Denver Public Art/Nigel Penhale

 "Denver Offers $40,000 for Art at an Emergency Homeless Shelter"

Reader: Give the Commission to a Homeless Artist, Not Some Yupster!
Chris Walker

"At Right to Survive Campaign Kickoff, Blizzard Cited as Reason I-300 Is Needed"

The two other commissions will go to projects on the High Line Canal and the Hadley Branch of the Denver Public Library. “These three public-art opportunities underscore Denver’s commitment to serving its residents, from education to recreation to safety,” says Michael Chavez, manager of Denver Public Art.

The money for these projects comes from the City of Denver program requiring that 1 percent of public improvement project budgets over a million dollars be used to fund public art. Since the city adopted that program in 1988, more than $40 million has gone to such projects — making Denver Public Art one of the biggest revenue streams for local artists.

Colorado artists can apply at CallForEntry.org through April 15. And in the meantime, the debate will continue over whether a  $40,000 piece of art will truly help the homeless. Have an opinion? Share it in a comment or email editorial@westword.com.

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