As a result, Westwood Park, once seen as a crime-riddled danger zone, has benefited from an influx of cash from Denver City Council and nonprofit groups alike — all inspired by the work of Westwood Unidos, a community organization with a mission "to unify and organize resident leaders and community-based organizations to take positive action on the topics residents identify as most important.”
After major renovations, the park reopened earlier this month.
Now Denver Public Art is getting in on the action, seeking artists who will create "one-of-a-kind artwork(s) appropriate for park visitors, reflective of the park’s design theme, and integrating into the vision of Westwood Park as a place where kids and families can connect to nature," according to a statement from Denver Arts & Venues, which oversees the city's public-art program.
Created thirty years ago under Mayor Frederico Peña's administration, Denver Public Art ensures that 1 percent of the budget for city capital improvement projects that cost more than $1 million — such as the Westwood Park renovation — goes to funding public art.
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For the Westwood Park arts project, "the artist or artist teams should understand and respect the cultural diversity and history of the Westwood neighborhood," the statement notes. The artist who gets the commission will be charged with engaging the community directly in the creative process, leading workshops for neighbors and young people alike.
"The goal of the artwork is to celebrate the community of Westwood and help instill a sense of pride and ownership in the park through the creation of a timeless and permanent art installation of high artistic merit and quality," according to Arts & Venues.
The Westwood Park public art project's budget of $55,000 will be funded in part by a grant from the Trust for Public Land, a group that advocates for public-land projects in both urban and rural areas.
For more information about how to apply, go to the Denver Public Art Program website. The deadline for proposals is Monday, September 24.