Blake Adams wants to democratize the viewing, understanding and appreciation of art -- and in the process, perhaps raise Denver's collective artistic IQ. That's why, last spring, after years of research and planning, he launched OneWall, a public mural program that makes art accessible while beautifying blank building walls with temporary displays that might, someday, evolve into a humongous open-air gallery. "A few other cities have put together thoughtful, sustainable mural programs," Blake says, pointing to La Jolla and Philadelphia. "I felt like Denver needed that, too." In fact, he feels that his project has the potential to eventually be a tourist attraction for this ever-growing town.
"OneWall elevates both local artists and the Denver art scene by utilizing unused building and alley walls to showcase large-scale art installations," explains Blake.
But most business owners are unwilling to let artists paint an entire wall of their buildings, which is awfully permanent, so Blake turned to vinyl applications. The high-definition printing process allows for temporary, large-scale work that can be taken down and rotated -- every three to six months, if Blake has his way.
The technique also allows all artists, not just muralists and street painters, to join in on the fun. "By being able to print on vinyl and install that on building walls, we open up the opportunity to lock in different artistic styles," says Blake. And different demographics, too, including seniors or folks with disabilities, since those who might not have the ability to stand all day can create a piece in their studio that can be transferred to the big wall.
The first installation, a series of pieces from RedLine curated by Ivar Zeile from Plus Gallery, went up in May at 13th and Champa streets. Artist Michael Kagan created the spaceman mural on display at 12th and Broadway, and a third installation was recently completed at Confluence Park, near REI.
"The goal is to continue to find creative ways to source the art," says Blake. For him, it's about finding ways to privately fund public art (read: no tax dollars), and corporate sponsorship is imperative to the long-term health of the initiative.
Continue reading for more on OneWall and the upcoming art competition.
Bellco Credit Union has been a strong supporter, and sponsored two of the installations done to date. The organization is also sponsoring an installation that will appear at 12th and Speer -- and that's where you come in.
For his fourth installation, Blake is asking local (that's Colorado residents only) artists and non-artists alike to submit their best work for consideration for a large-scale mural at the 12th & Elati Residences. The winning submission will be blown up to mural sized-proportions; previous OneWall installations have been around 1,800 square-feet.
The winner will be decided through a combination of votes on OneWall's Facebook page and a panel of three judges comprised of a Bellco representative, Ivar Ziele and David Smith of David E. Smith Gallery.
The panel of judges will whittle the applicants down to pool of finalists, and the public will vote for the ultimate winner. You can enter the contest online now through September 14.
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