Former Foothills curator Michael Chavez to oversee Denver's public art collection

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The city's announcement that Michael Chavez -- who's made his name with strong, contemporary work as a curator and exhibition designer at the Foothills Art Center and the Arvada Center -- has been named the new public art administrator for Denver Arts & Venues seems like sweet salvation after he was let go by the FAC last year.

Chavez takes over the day-to-day work of maintaining and growing the city's 350-piece public art collection from Kendall Peterson this morning;Peterson will move on to oversee public art for DIA's South Terminal Redevelopment Program with the airport's Art & Culture Program team.

See Also:

- Don't mess with El Mesteno! An impassioned defense of DIA's freaky, blue demon horse of death. - Denver ArtsWeek: Welcome to the Mile High City, Saggy-Boob Electric Penis. - Foray on 420: Five public artworks to trip out on while stoned.

Thrilled with the possibilities of his new role, Chavez is raring to go. "Once I've gotten settled in, what I really want to focus on is more community engagement with the collection, so citizens of Denver and visitors can have a better understanding of the works," he says.

He hopes to do this in several ways, beginning with social networking. "There are so many ways to engage people right there on their phones -- maybe they can stand in front of a piece and watch a video explanation," he suggests. After all, increasing awareness of what's out on Denver's streets is what the job is all about.

"I'm an artist myself, and I studied printmaking when I was at the University of Kansas in part because of its accessibility to a broader audience -- that whole tradition of making things less expensive in order to reach a wider audience," he says. "Public art takes that to a whole other level. I love the idea of reaching an audience that's not necessarily looking for it, and hopefully we'll inspire somebody to think of things differently."

Chavez also plans to work with local artists trying to break through the red tape involved in applying for and following through on public art commissions, which could help create a balanced representation of emerging Colorado talent in a collection that also features works by international artists.

"Denver's collection is already so fantastic -- it's really becoming more renowned," he says. "I'd love to see Denver be considered on a par with the chic metropolises, like New York or Chicago. When people visit a city, they want to see its public art, and I think Denver is on its way toward providing that opportunity."

To keep up with the Froyd's eye-view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.