With a grant from the city of Denver, Birdseed Collective is beautifying RTD bus benches in its own Globeville/Elyria/Swansea neighborhood. With two benches already finished and four more on the way, the art and community service collective is working with LiveWell Colorado on the P.S. You Are Here Grant to not only bring art to these bus stops, but actual places to rest where there used to be none.
"There have been bus stops in these neighborhoods for a long time, but it used to be just a plot of dirt -- basically a stop on the side of the road," says Anthony Garcia Sr. who leads Birdseed Collective. Now, these stops have been paved and given benches which Garcia Sr. and fellow artists Jared De Palo and Tastes Like Gold are bringing a brighter life to.
Garcia Sr. grew up in the Globeville Elyria Swansea neighborhood and has been working to bring art to his community through various mural installations and service projects -- the bus benches are just the latest installment. "We get feedback the whole time we're painting -- everyone loves it," says Garcia Sr. "They are happy to see someone like myself doing it because I grew up here and everyone is familiar with me; I'm not some outsider coming in and painting, so they don't feel like their space is being invaded."
Though the project is going well and Garcia is excited finish and unveil the remaining four bus benches, a few weeks ago an art piece of De Palo's that was installed inside one of the enclosed bus stops was stolen. But Garcia shrugs it off. "It's crazy that someone would steal art that fast."
The artist also shares that he's hoping to do more public art-based projects around the city in other neighborhoods, but he will always direct much of his energy to the place where he grew up. "I've lived in the area for twenty-plus years - I know everybody. It's almost easier to get permission to do stuff if I already know all the council people and all of the community organizations that I have to go through to do things like murals," says Garcia Sr. "Besides, I'd rather paint my neighborhood anyway."
Birdseed Collective also works within its home neighborhood to help with a weekly food program for residents as well as producing the Globeville Elyria Swansea newsletter. Follow Anthony Garcia Sr.'s Instagram for updates on the the P.S. You Are Here bus bench project and check out more work from artists of the Birdseed Collective at 8 p.m. tomorrow night, December 12, at the 1/1 Magazine 12 x 12 Art Show at Crimson Hilt Tattoo.
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