Citation
Creating 'place' through public art

Material Information

Title:
Creating 'place' through public art
Creator:
Anderson, Adrienne
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
106 unnumbered leaves : illustrations, maps (some color) ; 28 cm +

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Art, Municipal ( lcsh )
Art, Municipal -- Case studies -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Public works -- Case studies -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
Art, Municipal ( fast )
Public works ( fast )
Colorado -- Denver ( fast )
Genre:
Case studies. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Case studies ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 103-106).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Landscape Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
[by Adrienne Anderson].

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
12635205 ( OCLC )
ocm12635205
Classification:
LD1190.A77 1985 .A874 ( lcc )

Full Text
creating place through public art


a thesis by adrienne undersoil spring 1985


... art must not remain a sanctuary ... art should attend us everywhere that life flows and acts.
Naum Gabo


This thesis is submitted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Masters of Landscape Architecture degree at the University of Colorado at Denver, College of Design and Planning Graduate Program of Landscape Architecture
Date


TAELE OF COUT ENTS
_______________________________________________________page no
I. Introduction
II. Hypothesis
II Project Description
IV. Process Diagram
V. Preface
VI. Goals and Objectives
VII. Research and Analysis
a ) Public Art Defined
b. ) History of Public Art
c ) Art in Public Places Program
d ] Community Responsibility
e ) Strengths and Weaknesses
f. ) Current Trends in Public Art
g l Summary
h ) Conclusions
VIII . Case Study: Creati Art no a Process for Site Respon
e ) Placing Public Art
IX. Regional Context
a ) Regional Context:Denver
b ) Summary
X. Civic Context
a ) Civic Context: Denver
b ) City Abstract
c ) Denver Abstract
d ) Summary
XI . Inventory of Publi c Spaces
a ) Primary
b. ) Secondary
c } Summa ry
XII . In vento ry of Exist i ng Art
a ) Public Spaces/Existing Art
XIII . Site Context
a ) Site Context: Denver
b ) Graphic analysis
c ) Photos
d } Site Grief
e ) Conclusions
XIV. Cone Lusions
XV. Append i x
a ) Economic Value of Art
b.] Use/User Results
c ) Solar Fountain Background
XVI . Bibliography


introduction


One way to define the character of a city is by observing its outdoor spaces and what happens in them. In the past 20 years the presence of contemporary public art in our urban spaces has added a new dimension to our perception of these spaces.
Art can enliven, create identity, and make cities more habitable. With an increasing number of buildings designed to fiLl zoning criteria, the role of art in the city becomes instrumental to the creation of a cohesive urban Landscape'.
Denver's open spaces are important to the success of the revitaL-ization of downtown. The placement of public art in these spaces can contribute to their animation and opportunity for creating sense of place'.
Careful planning and analysis of the individual site and its relationship within the fabric of the city is crucial to the success of art.
This thesis will explore the components that should be considered for the placement of public art on a site; formulate these components into a process for placing art and then apply this process to downtown Denver.


hypothesis


thorough analysis of site and community contributes to integrating art with the surrounding environment and reveals a sense of place to those who use it.


project
description


This thesis will first address the concept of public art,its history, the evolution of contemporary public art programs, their role in making public art an urban design element, and the controversy that has ensued; and finaLly recommendations for dissipating these problems through formulating a planning process for creatively integrating public art into the urban envi ronment.
The case study will outline this planning process and apply the
criteria to downtown Denver




how to create__________research:
place through define
public art history
current history
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and trends
hypothesis
'I
goals
create analysis process for site and community responsive art:*
regional context
civic context
site context
case study:
appiv process J to Downtown 1 Denver mid < document i
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The Last twenty years have witnessed an expansion of interest in public art accompenied by increasing civic and corporate financial support. Many cities have adopted the 'percent for the arts' legislation which allows a portion of funds allocated for construction to be funneled into incorporating fine arts into the building or site. This legislation has increased the quantity of public art, and brought to Light the problems that can arise with placing art where it is accessible to all. It now belongs to the community, who reads into it their own experiences, and have their own expectations. The environment and those who use it are as important as the art that is pLaced there. Creating site responsive art, and art that provides an experience does not compromise artistic integrity, but challenges it. Thorough analysis of site and community would contribute to integrating art with the surrounding environment and would reveals a 'sense of place' to those who use it.


I
goals and objectives


I. Determine the elements in public art that contribute to creating sense of place' in the city.
II. Translate these elements into a process which can be used for placing public art in the city.
III. Apply that process to downtown Denver as a case study


research /analysi s


"... What people want to see is their own meanings in the environment, with their own system of values, from their own frame of reference...And this is exactly what they do whether designers (and artists) like it or not."
Professor Juan Carlo Bonta
PUBLIC ART DEFINED
Public art is a complex topic with as many interpretations as there are opinions. I will review a few of those opinions to give an overview of the topic at hand. However, for the purpose of this thesis a general definition of public art void of opinion is appropriate.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English
Language defines public as "...connected with or acting on behalf of the people, community or government, rather than private matters or interests. Open to the knowledge and judgement of all..." and the definition of art as "... the human effort to imitate, supplement, alter or counteract the work of nature... using the conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements or other elements in a manner that effects the sense of beauty...".
This thesis will focus on outdoor public art, both public and private. Often the term 'public art' denotes art that has been commissioned by the Art in Architecture or Art in Public Places Program. Confining this study to only those works wouldnt give an accurate overview of the outdoor visual arts in downtown
Denver.


My interpretation of public art has been formed from observation over the years and has been refined over the past two and a half from learning to 'see' as a landscape architect. I define public art as an experience out of the ordinary in the environment. Whether that is a visual stimulus as conventional as sculpture, functional as a manhole cover, or bizarre as a giant pair of cowboy boots, it is an experience and allows a diversion from the mundane setting that our cities have become.
As mentioned earlier, public art has been subject to much criticism in the past few years. The following comments by artists, art critics and historians review the positive aspects of pubLic art.
"What is public art? It is in my definition art that is not only made for a public place but also has some kind of social function."
Scott Burton Artist
In recognition of its responsibility to create a more humane environment of distinction, enjoyment and pride for all of its citizens and in recognition that public art is a resource which stimulates the vitality and economy of the state's communities and which provides opportunity for artists and other skilled workers to practice their crafts."
The Colorado General Assembly on passing The Art in Public Places Act in 1977


Art in nature is open to all the confused Longings and idealizations our culture lays over nature itself. Art outdoors-in streets, parks, gardens or fields-is a particularly effective vehicle for communicating these discoveries. It can be more intimate and accessible to people's lives than ert seen in brutally hierarchical buildings.
Lucy Lippard
Contemporary Art Historian
"The deeper aesthetic levels of contemporary sculpture may communicate to the man in the street imperfectly, given the largely abstract nature of art today and the public's limited awareness of modern art forms. Yet citizens do want art in their lives.
In a recent survey, the public was asked whether they understood the "message" of a variety of recent public sculptures, mostLy abstract; whether the message was valid; and finally whether they feLt that the works improved the quaLity of life." The poll results showed the contradictions we face. Most felt that the message of the sculptures, in either symbolic of humanist terms, was negligible, and certainly beyond their comprehension. Yet they overwhelmingly voted not to replace or change the works."
Professor Sam Hunter Author of The Place of Art in the World of Architecture
"...the crucial test of any significant work of art in public space...are the kinds of relationships it with its surrounding environment, and the nature of between its component parts."
that exists establishes the bonds
Benjamin Forgery
Commenting on the Vietnam Veterans War Memo r i al to the Washington Post


"It is precisely in this area- public sculpture- that the religion of art currently makes its richest contribution to the human comedy. A hundred years ago there was no confusion about the purpose of public sculpture. It glorified the ideals or triumphs of a whole community by the presentation of familiar figures or symbols, or, alternatively, it glorified the person or group who paid for it."
Tom Wolfe on the V/orship of Art
" The community may read into public art its own experiences, its history, its humor, perhaps even its fantasy. Advocated is art which engages itself directly with the surrounding envi ronment. ..
Public art captures and reinforces the unique character of a place. Such 'place makers' may reflect the history of a place, its cultural development, even its rhythm. It will make a place memorable by its presence there...
The public artist creates a work with the setting in mind because the place's impact on the art may be as great as the impact of the art on the place. The two together may make a new place, or enrich an old one."
Cambridge Mass. Arts Council
CONCLUSION
Our cities have the propensity to become a series of concrete wastelands unless we insure some form of' humanization' of these dead spaces. Public art is one of those forms. However, the 'plunking' of art into a space does not transform that space into a humane environment. Public art that does not address its audience is not public, but art created for an elite few. Those who commission and/or create public art have the responsibility to insure that the site, and the public have been acknowledged. It is the interrelationship of these factors, art, site and community, that yields art that creates a 'sense of place'.


HISTORY OF PUBLIC ART
The instinct to decorate public spaces with painting and sculpture is an ancient one, basic to man's nature. PaLsolithic man created the cave paintings as part of a ritual to insure a successful hunt, or as part of a fertility rite. Neolithic man undertook the rearrangement of his landscape on a megalithic scale. Greet Eritian has many structures along the line of Stonehenge whose purpose can only be supposed. It is surmised that the circular areas were used for sun worshipping rituals due to their specific orientations to the summer solstice. The stones have been placed with an unexpected level of astronomical, mathematical and engineering expertise on the part of the Neolithic and Bronze Age man.
However, other speculation have included the idea of market place or meeting house as a function of these stone circles.
The concept has been recreated by contemporary artists such as Carl A.ndre in Hartford, Conn, with 'Stone Field1 partially financed by the National
Endowment for the Arts.
Stone Field by Carl Andre


In ancient Greece, sculpture was a sign of civic wealth and prosperity and flourished during the Civil Works program of 400 B.C.. The temple was the pure manifestation of the search for proportion, secure and serene in the cosmic order. These and other civic structures exemplified the cultural ideology of the Greek community. Friezes were a natural medium for the Greeks as storytelling was an important part of their culture and the narrative form of art was weLl suited. The Panathenaic Frieze on the Parthenon depicts an event which occurred every year and held a special importance for the Greek citizen. It was a time to become both audience and actor, affecting and being affected by the pageantry of the occasion. The Panathenaic procession gave central theme to the development of Athens. Architectural planning was modeled around establishing nodes or punctuation points for the procession.
It was the Greeks and the Romans that brought the practice of outdoor public art to the Western civilized world. Imperial Rome promoted their concepts of city planning throughout their Empire, creating cities in their likeness. Their use of the obelisk, which served as a monument to the emperors as welL as a focal point/organizing element for the city can be seen throughout Europe. Imperial sculpture presenting the Emperors as being of a god-like form and physique and arches dedicated
flHripnnp anH<>rsftnrrpatind r1 tVirnucfh nnKHf art


to the numerous victories helped to promote patriotism and good-will for a period of time.
During the Middle Ages, most creative activity was dedicated to the Roman Catholic Church. With Christianity's overwhelming popularity, endowments to the Churches and monasteries increased the amount of religious monumental art. The dominant theme was either the crucified Christ or the Virgin and Child. Often the architect of the Cathedrals and the sculptor were the same person, or they would sometimes form a sort of interdisciplinary design team and move from town to town initiating building programs for the cathedrals.
After the reclusive attitudes of the Middle Ages, a revival of the tradition of public outdoor art came, as did most creative enlightenment, with the Renaissance. Sculpture became more* separate' from the architecture to emphasize the third dimension. Although still religious in nature for the most part, or reflective of the powers of state, the style was freer and more humanistic. The older urban planning traditions were returning as was the re-institution of sculpture as an integral part of the way that cities were designed end built. In many parts of Europe, these new public artworks were the first to be executed since the Fall of the Roman Empire.


Over the next centuries these traditions of outdoor art were
regionalized. Styles and materials varying with locale, such as the predominance of mosaics in Spain, or the elaborate ornamentation of the guild halls in Northern Europe.
In America, other than primitive art (whirligigs, or carousel art), or that of the Native American Indian, such as the Totem pole in the Northwest, we had little tradition to follow. Our capitol city was planned along the Baroque urban planning form so it seemed logical that it must have the classical statuary at the appropriate points to give it authenticity. With that as an example, the courthouse squares alL over the nation applied a hero statue, and that was that for the first hundred years of our existence.
Little attention was paid to the aesthetic elements of our urban areas (except for the City Beautiful movement at the end of the 1Sth century] and war monuments were the extent of public art avai lable.
The Great Depression, through the New Deal and the Works Project Administration, gave our country its most ambitious and creative publicly sponsored art program. It was a high point in federally sponsored fine arts in the United States, and the results can still be seen across the country.
World War II ended this era, and government sponsorship continued but only at the state and municipal level. The urban renewal movement became popuLar in the 1950's and 1950's and this again


enlivened the public arts, as most of the redevelopment schemes included art as a component.
But it was the 19S0's that a renaissance occurred in the field of public art, and they were discovered by the mass public.
An unprecedented amount was being spent by the federal government on art and architecture. President Kennedy issued a directive on Kay 23rd of 1962 which included the idea of 'percent for the arts'. The directive was aimed at "the riddance of an official style and the encouragement of professional creativity through competition, as well as the selection of designs that embody the finest American Architectural thought." Also for the first time the order urged that funds totaling up to 1% of the -construction costs would be reserved for the incorporation of the fine arts. This was the birth of the "Art in Architecture" program.
This directive helped inspire the National Endowment for the Arts "Art in Public Places program which emerged as a part of the Johnson Administration's dream of a 'Great Society'in
1 967 .


ART IN' PUBLIC PLACES PROGRAM
The Art in Public Places program has been in effect since 1S67 under the National Endowment for the Arts guidance. It was initially conceived as a way to honor outstanding living sculptors. An advisory panel appointed by NationaL Endowment Chairman, Roger Stevens recommended in 1 9 6 B that a National Award of Excellence be created to commission a major work by an American sculptor, which would then be given to a city for public display. This idea evolved into the Art in Public Places program. Its function differs today in that the communities are directly responsible for initiating their own projects, and are involved in selecting the artist. The guidelines established in 1973 stated that a public place was defined to include "airports, subways, highways, as well as the usual city sites." Private land was also acceptable as a site, provided that the public had "free and unimpeded access" to it as in the case of a university campus. The guidelines were again revised in 1979 to "encourage more realistic and thorough pLanning by sponsors" before the grant was made. Prior to this revision awards were made primarily on the basis of the site and its potential as a place for art.
The other activities such as artist selection, fundraising and community preparation followed the awarding of the grant. This led to the failure of many projects because the recipient


communities were unprepared to assume their responsibilities. After the revisions the communities were required to complete these activities prior to the grant award. The application process now also includes a letter of intent six months prior to even submitting an application, and the sponsors now bear full responsibility for their projects.
Since its inception, the Art in Public Places Program has been subject to much controversy due to the high visibility of its artworks in the public realm, opening them for general debate as opposed to a museum piece which receives limited viewing.
A considerable amount of controversy centers around the relevancy of the commissioned works of art to their respective site and communi ty.
John Beardsley states in his book entitled Art in Public Places that ". . . Art in Public Places represents the often volatile
conjunction of the personal sensibilities of the artist with the public expectations of art, in the context of public space. Because the forms of art have evolved and diversified so dramatically in the Last several decades, there is a disparity between contemporary artistic practice and public expectation of what art should look like... Artworks in public places have served to encourage a dialogue between artists and the public and to explore the processes by which contemporary art can attain a public significance for a variety of communities.


COMMUNITY RESPOHSIBILITY
It is the process which is empLoyed by the community that ultimately determines the success of a work of art. The National Endowment for the Arts continues to modify its guidelines to encourage thorough planning by the communities. But often economics do not allow for as thorough a process as should be imp lemented .
The following is a process suggested by the Art in Public Places Program. This process varies depending on the size and scope of the project and the organization involved. What is important to note is that at the initial stages no reference is made to obtaining information relevant to the site and community to assist the artist in his/her process. There should be definitive guidelines included in this process to help both the artist and the sponsoring agency to respond to the context of a given environment, both physically an emotionally. This extra step in the planning process could prevent subsequent inappropriateness and assist in creating art which establishes 'place'.
Site Selection { a site is determined by local agency)
A Selection panel is organized
Fundraising
A public information program is implemented
Selection of artist
Contract negotiations
Artist submits drawings and maquettes
Approval by sponsors
Artwork constructed
transported
installed
Dedication


Agein there a varying degrees to which the NEA process is applied, depending also upon the scope of the project and the budget.
Obviously the more complete the project the better chance the artwork has of being successful.
Provisions should be made in this process for conveying informat ion to the artist about the character of the site and community, and involving him/her in the project from its inception if it is a nev; project.
This step is often left to the artist whose commission covers materials, fabrication, transport,and installation, but not the manhours necessary to research these components vital to the design.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The most obvious strength of the Art in Public Places program both on the state level and the national level is that of exposure, for both the public and the artist. Public art gives an artist his or her largest audience. The program also brings an awareness of contemporary public art to a very wide audience who might not ordinarily have that opportunity. In some communi ties the placement of a work of public art has encouraged


educational and social activities directed toward an ever expanding audience and increased a communities awareness of the visual arts.
However, in examining the end products of the endeavors of the Art in PubLic Places programs [both levels] these seems to be a proliferation of works of an ornamental nature which have been applied to the landscape as 'environmental enhancement.' Often these works are intended to humanize the sterility of an urban setting, or to cover mistakes already made.
Much of today's public art has not been conceived as integral parts of it's environment and appears as an afterthought, conveying little value to the 'man in the street'. The public artist is faced with the challenge of maintaining artistic integrity yet responding to outside factors which will determine the success of his work. The most important of these being the public and the environment. Many of the v;orks which have been created in the name of public art respond to neither of these, and remain isolated objects in the environment, forfeiting a unique opportunity for the viewer and for the artist. A recent example is Richard Serra's "Tilted Arc" in the Federal Plaza in New York City. This work is a 120 foot long and 12 foot high curving wall of cor-ten steel which bisects Federal Plaza. Since its installation 3 and e half years ago complaints have been lodged by individuals and community who feel that the plazs's


use as a recreational and performance facility has been destroyed." Public hearings are now being held to remove the Serra work. The artist stated that he wanted to "re-define the space."
The setting and the community are as important as the art itself and hold equal value in a formula that establishes a connection between people and their environment. Little attention has been directed toward this aspect of public art. I feel that the responsibility lies with the sponsoring organization or agency which governs the financial role to insure adequate site and community documentation.


CURRENT TRENDS III PUBLIC ART
The following are examples of successful and innovative integration of art, site and the public. In some cases function' adds another dimension to the concept of public art, opening another realm of possibilities. There are new directions being taken by several cities and by individuals who have sought to re-define public art. The concept of integrating art with it's surroundings has taken a more explicit meaning. In every era art is expressive of the culture, of which it is a major component. The ecological movement of the past two decades has delivered a society that realizes that even the urban environment is a vanishing resource. Space has become more meaningful, or rather the impending lack of it. Thus the trend to reclaim and make more habitable that space that we had formerly desecrated.
Or the move to make our public spaces and amenities more usable, with more than one purpose.
In response to the disenchantment with art for not providing the cure for "sagging physical environments" the trend is toward equating 'public' with 'functional'. The following elaborate on that concept.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Western Regional Center, Seattle
A peninsula formerly occupied by a U.S. Navy air base is now shared by NOAA, a city park and Navy Administration facilities. The 114 acre site on the shores of Lake Washington is open to the public for the first time since World War II. Five sculptors were commissioned by the Seattle Arts Commission (Siah Armajani, Scott Burton, Doug Hollis, Martin Puryear, and George Trakas) Their purpose was to develop an integrated plan which would take into account the topography of the site and how people would use it. Each of the projects exists in relationship to the environment and derives information from the site in terms of materials, form and function. Visitors can follow an "artwork" path along the shoreline which connects the various works together.
Siah Armajani designed two concrete footbridges which span runoff swales with strips of bronze letters inlaid which are only revealed to the walking viewer. The text is from Herman
Melville's Moby Dick.


Doug Hollis has steel towers and conditions, with velocity. The brick pavers. !\ Garden' allowing and listen.
created a 'Sound Garden' out of 12 tubular the pipes emit harmonic vibrations during windy the timbre and pitch changing with wind work incorporates a meandering path of triangular ite shaped benches are located around the 'Sound the walker to stop and contemplate the view


George Trakas created Layers of asymetrical platforms that
cover some unsightly rip-rap that was dumped at the water's
edge . H i s wo rk "articulates the trans itional nature of the
sho re l i n e , creating a passage from the land cut over the surface
of the wa ter."
Burton created a terrace extending over the Lake, converting raw stone into seating and planter boxes. "Entering through a small grove of trees, Scott Burton's piece is an intimate gathering place with panoramic views of the lake. V/ithin the room Like space, his rock furniture provides seating for visitors and NOAA emp loyees .Simp le cuts made in rough boulders dredged up from the Lake transform them into furniture...". He also cultivated the natural shoreline grasses and native vegetation. Martin Puryear designed a Large concrete knoll ringed


by curved stone benches. Paths approach the knoll from the South and the East, curving to meet. The four slightly curved benches, "whose arc corresponds to that of the sphere, are placed at the periphery of the mound. Trees planted to the south of the mound will eventually provide shelter for the site while leaving a clear view to the north facing Lake Washington."
All of these artworks are adaptable and accommodating to the user and not conceived as adornments to the architecture or landscape. They emphasize the relationship between man and the natural environment.
The Fish Ladder, Grand River, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Sculptor Joseph Kinnebrew created a concrete structure in the river which allows salmon to return upriver to spawn and provides observation platforms for viewers.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sculptor Martin Puryear is constructing a gazebo on stilts in a local park. Don Flavin has proposed fluorescent lighting for the FaLls Bridge which spans the Schuylkill River.


Earthwork at Johnson Pit #30
King County, V/ashington
Robert Morris reclaimed an abandoned gravel pit and converted it into a grassy, terraced, amphitheatre. The King County Department of Public Works agreed to work in conjunction with Morris as they saw his earthwork design as an answer to a land reclamation problem at the Johnson Pit #30. A King County publication describes the Morris work in the following terms,
" The work consists of a series of descending concentric slopes and benches located in the central part of the site. A hill-form rises on the lower third of the site... The entire site, graded and ungraded areas, is cleared of trees and planted in rye grass."
From within the amphitheatre one can only see the terraced slope of the earthwork and the sky above.


"Earthwork"
Kent County Municipal Park, Washington
The city park had a drainage problem from a constantly eroding creek bed which ran through the city park. The King County Arts Commission chose Herbert Bayer who developed a plan consisting of numerous earthen forms and storm water retention areas.
In addition, Bayer was also asked to protect salmon spawning areas from further deterioration. His work on the twenty acre site features a series of earthen mounds and ponds as well as two dams forming basins which retain flood water. A path connects the two basins together and provides the visitor with interesting earth shapes to walk on or through.


Viewlends/Hoffnan Substation, Seattle, Washington
Seattle City Light and the Seattle Arts Commission decided that an artistic treatment of the electrical substation would humanize and soften its impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Artists worked in conjunction with the architects, landscape architects and engineers to create an integrated public art project. Unlike a typical electrical substation, this one invites the visitors to look, enjoy and learn what happens inside of an electrical substation. The site contains color-coded electrical equipment and an artwork key which describes their function. In one special area of the substation, playful whirligigs which twirl and spin from the wind. A pathway protected by a chain Link fence allows visitors a closer Look at the electrical components. The signage serves to tie the artwork together and explains how 8 n electrical substation works.
Nine Spaces, Nine Trees,
Public Safety Building Plaza, Seattle, Washington
The artist Robert Irwin was commissioned to deveLop a sculpture for this plaza. After considerable effort researching pedestrian traffic patterns, as well as Light and climate conditions, the result was a sculpture which provides the visitors with trees, benches, and the visual interest of light and shadow captured


and rearranged by blue wire mesh fencing. It is a maze Like construction which forms nine rooms. Each room contains a Large planter with a plum tree. The blue mesh fencing creates that encloses each room creates a sensation of movement when the light passes through.
Dancer Series Steps, Seattle, Washington
The Broadway Avenue Business District includes an area of small shops, a Lively entertainment scene and residential district. Plans were developed by the city to renovate the sidewalks to improve the pedestrian flow and increase the appeal of Broadway for outside shoppers. A design team was organized, who selected a proposal by Jack Mackis to construct inlaid bronze dance steps at various locations along the new sidewalk. Mackie developed


the dance steps as a way of celebrating the vibrance and fun of the Broadway area. There are five dances represented in his work, The" Foxtrot"," Rhumba"," Tango"," Obeedo", and "Busstop".
Each set is arranged in the pattern of a couples feet. The feet are marked left, or right, and numbered to indicate sequence.
Shirley Avenue Plaza, Baltimore, Maryland
The low-income, predominantly black community that was on the 'rebound' wanted a physical symbol to express their new found status. The former service station site was transformed into a plaza with waLL murals and pole mounted lights in varying colors of red to orange and are controllable by the residents or passerby. When the manual spots are not in use then two other spots engage automatically. The plaza functions as a meeting place as well as a stage.


SUMMARY
These are only a few ideas which convey the concern for site responsive creativity, and in some cases, problem solving.
This approach presents more of a challenge to the artist, but also more of an opportunity to create 'monumental' art, or art that is concerned with more than just form and expression.
What many of these works of art have in common is functioning on different levels as opposed to existing only. In reviewing both historical and current public art, that which creates a sense of place' is that art which provides more than just a visual experience. Examples of this premise are as follows:
^The Roman obelisk served not only as a military and politcal monument but as an urban design element around which the city was ordered. Roads radiated from the point, and the obelisk marked a recognizable meeting place for civic or social gathering.
^ The ancient Greek friezes served as documentation of historical or civic events as well as architectural features.
In the Rennaissance and Earoque eras much of the commissioned artwork was religious, funerary, monumental, or allegorical and was also incorporated into the architecture (sculpture, doors, reliefs) or were fountains which were extensions of the building ( St. Carlo alle Quatro Fontaine in Rome) which also served as the community water resource. Art end


architecture were not polar disciplines, as they are today. Leonardo da Vinci and MichaeLange lo combined the two as in the Campidoglio on Capitoline Hill in Rome.
Current examples:
Herbert Bayer and Robert Morris' earthworks solved a specific problem (drainage, land reclamation] in addition to providing a unique experience.
The artists of the NOAA project explore ways to bring the audience into a dialogue with the site and its surroundings, to experience it on different levels (sound, water, history) and to interact.
The Viewlands-Hoffman Substation employs a creative approach to what is normally considered a negative feature, a power substation. Through an'interpretative' playful viewpoint the viewer Learns how a substation wo rks Art anna Architecture become one. Throughout the design, functional and ordinarily unsightly elements become art.
Urban revitalization supplies a perfect opportunity for art as in Shirley plaza in Baltimore or the Dancer's Steps in Seattle. Each of these play off of the character of the community, providing meaning through objects in the environment. Each of these works create a 'place' which people perceive to be Like no other in the city.


CONCLUSION
The two principles which are common to these examples of both historical and public art are as foliows:
i. The artwork is more than a visual experience
* i t acts as a landmark or identifying
element
*i t meets a need or solves a problem
*i t p ro v i des an experience for a viewer
o n several levels
^visual/audio *pa rt i ci pato ry i t documents an event ll. The art is responsive to the site, the community/public, and the context in which it is placed.
These principles should be considered standard guidelines for the commissioning and creation of public art. I have chosen to expand
on Principle II for the case study of the thesis


case study


CREATING A PROCESS FOR SITE AMD COMMUNITY RESPONSIVE ART
V.'hat many of these projects have in common is sensitivity to the site and to the user, or person who experiences them.
They are not dependent upon a private vocabulary for interpretation but communicate to everyone. This trend tov/ard 'functionalism' or more humanistic art is very demanding of the artist and requires that he or she play architect, landscape architect, planner, engineer, and historian. This is a difficult role to assume singly, and a collaboration of any of the above is the best solution. The Landscape architect, by merit of the diversity in training is very well suited for this collaborative ro l e .
Whatever the occupation of the person creating the art, a standard process could be formulated which would assist both the artist and the commissioning organization in understanding the impact of art on the site, the public and its relationship in the urban context.
This process would act as a framework for the creative process of the artist. However, the more involvment the artist has in this process, the more success the overall project will
have .


The end product of this process would convey detailed information about the site and the public/community which could:
alleviate probLems with construction and cost
example: underlying conditions on a site would prohibit a structure that goes below grade, or there must be emergency vehicle access on site so requirements must be met, and art doesnt conflict.
highlight certain community history or interests example: site was once a brothel or trolley car exchange.
^ focus on amenities that are needed on site which could either be addressed by the artist or included in budget, example: the artist wants his work to be meditative but there is no seating or trees on site to creates contemplative environment.
^ point out natural features that are unique to the site or that could be incorporated in artwork, example: site receives direct sunlight 4 hours Longer than any other place in the city due to absence of highrise buildings, or site is in air current that exists nowhere else in the world.
^ identify any proposed changes to site or surroundings
which could eventually effect art placed, example: site is directly above proposed subway line which will involve eventual trenching and construction on site.


point out potential problems.
example: there is a high incidence of vandalism in area where site is located, or site is emergency snow dumping area.
^ context-the pLanning process could help identify high
activity areas where there is greater visibility and need for public art or areas which would not normally be thought of for public art.
These examples point out that pLanning is needed on many Levels for a public art project. This thesis will outline a process which I feel should be executed in the initial stages of acquiring public art. This process should be part of the guidelines issued to the communities by the National Endowment for the Arts when they are requesting funds for a public art project. (Please refer to page the process recommended by the Art in Public Places Program.)
A thorough pLanning and analysis process for placing art is the first step toward creating a 'sense of place1 in the urban
envi ronment.


The process for placing art will consider
regional context
civic context
the site and its context
The elements that should be considered within each of these categories will be outlined, The case study, downtown Denver, will implement the process to show how it might be used.
PLACING PUBLIC ART
To formulate an accurate process for placing public art one must consider context, or the relation of the study area to everything else around it. This concept can be applied on each scale, from the city and its relationship to the region, to the site and its relationship to the city, or the site and its relationship to its immediate surroundings and users. The overall picture must be understood before the details can be addressed. Using Denver as a case study I will apply the process at each level from regional to site specific to determine its usefulness in
placing public art.


regional context


REGIONAL CONTEXT
The regional context is an overview of a city's relationship to the region. It should give a representative picture of the city in broad terms, and its receptiveness to the arts. Each of the considerations in the Regional Context are complex areas on which boohs could be written. However, as this is a study on public art the facts should reflect that subject. This is a basic outline of the major considerations, keep in mind these could alter depending on the study area.
The role of the city in the region with regerd to the arts.
The growth and economics of the city.
What are distinguishing natural features?
* climate
* topography
* natural history
* vegetation
Definitive trends
* ex.'no growth'policy
* urban revitalization
Overview of interest in the arts
* legislation, budget
* public interest vs
private interest, etc.


being in the Value of Art ( population the city is
city and benefiting the economics { See Economic in the City", Appendix}. The overall climate architecture, economics, potential for growth] of receptive to the development of public art.


REGIONAL CONTEXT: DENVER
Denver has the potential to become a regional arts center for the Rocky Mountain region. The largest city in that region at 1.8 million, Denver has a projected population rate of 2.7 Ta per year through the 1 930's and 90 1 s .
*(4Qjeoj?\

44
The median age for Denver is 30.
Its support for the arts comes from both a Local and regional base. It has the most fine arts facilities in the region, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Denver Art Museum, and numerous private galleries, theatres,
and dance companies with the majority of these located in the downtown area. Denver lacks a strong civic pride relative to its public art, but until recently had no formal municipal arts agency. The surrounding cities, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Fort Collins and GreeLy have fine arts centers, but

UUyQ^&o
t
. Vue&Lo
Denver is the nationally recognized arts center for the region
Climate, vegetation, geography, and natural history all contribute to the image of a place. Denver is known for its multitude of sunny days, low humidity, and strong natural light. The proximity of the mountains figures strongly in the visual image of Denver, as well as to the recreational value of the


area. Denver is a city of the plains and has plains vegetation.
In other words if something is not planted and nurtured, it has a slim chance of maturing.
Downtown Denver underwent a development boom from the late 70's to the early 80 s which produced more retail, office, and residential projects, which also resulted in more people coming downtown to work, shop and play.
The skyline changed drastically, and the suburbs continue to spred in all directions with the heaviest concentration in the southeast where the Denver Tech Center is located.
SUMMARY
Due to the increasing suburban sprawl, downtown Denver has had to become more se If-consious about its role as a provider of amenities that one expects from a city. Major retail areas are being re-established in the downtown area; the 1Gth Street Mall re-developed, all with the intent of drawing people back in from the suburbs. The fine arts play a vital role in this scheme, with public art contributing to the pleasure of the experience of


civic context


COTEXT : CIVIC
At this scale the city itself is analyzed. The interrelationship of the components is examined such as the open spaces, the plazas, pedestrian arteries or boundaries.
To understand 'city context', think of a city as being composed not only of buildings, but of the spaces surrounding those buildings. It is the activity of the sidewalks, the public spaces and plazas, and the streets that give a city its life and identity. It is how people circulate, where they congregate, and what areas they avoid that helps us to analyze a city and how it functions. Some of the elements that should be considered are:
^ Abstract of City
* districts
* l andmarks(primary, and secondary)
* networks of heavy circulation [paths,
pedestrian and vehicular)
* areas of intense pedestrian use (nodes)
* unofficial boundaries within city (edges) Network of pubLic spaces (primary, secondary)
^ Network of open spaces ^Existing and proposed art
(lapping these elements will give a basic framework for understanding how the city works, and the impact of public art in the city. This framework would help in locating potential sites


for public art and would be the beginning of an arts plan'.
This could prevent the random placement of art in the city, for example when e work has been 'donated' and no one knows where to put it. Yet it would also offer opportunities for a variety of organizations to become sponsors and patrons who had not thought of it before.
Artists, administrators, or those placing pubLic art should understand this frame work end the role of the public places within that framework prior to evaluating them as potential locations for public art. It is not enough for a city's art commission to collect artworks and distribute them randomly throughout the city. A thorough awareness of the site, the audience and the urban context must be cultivated for an effective arts plan that will enhance a city's 'sense of place'.


CIVIC CO NT EXT;DENVER
Downtown Denver provides sn urban focus for the Rocky Mountain Region. The downtown area is a place of employment for over 100,000 people, with an additional 110,000 people coming downtown daily for business, shopping, conventions, entertainment, educati on, etc..
Downtown Denver has a strong commercial core. The retail district on 16th street mall which runs paralleL to the financial district on 17th Street acts as the backbone of the downtown area. The revitalization of the 16th Street Mall has created a pleasant pedestrian experience downtown and is contributing to a w a l k a b L e downtown. The Tabor Center provides diversity and accents the historic character of the Larimer Historic District. The Denver Planning Office is aware of the value of encouraging pedestrian activity and amenities downtown. This concept provides further reinforcement for placing art in the downtown area. Denver's core offers many opportunities for art, and in turn, the presence of art would add another dimension to the 'experience' of downtown.


city abstract


CITY ABSTRACT
In Image of the City Kevin Lynch states that nothing is experienced by itself, but always in relation to its surroundings, the sequence of events leading up to it, or the memory of past experiences.
In that book Lynch created a means of classification by dividing a city into paths, nodes, districts, edges and landmarks. This classification develops a graphic and mental image of the way people circulate, interact and identify their city. By applying this system a hierarchy of pubLic spaces can be established based on use. All of this information helps to develop a framework for mapping the elements that help us to understand the city and how
it functions.


DENVER ABSTRACT
Employing Kevin Lynch's theory in Downtown Denver gives another dimension to the basic outline of the urban context. This system helps to identify the major activity areas and why they are so, and therefore assists in analyzing the city for potential art sites. This system breaks down into 5 units which often overlap in definition and in perception, and help us to understand city form through abstracting activity, architecture and function.
Landmarks- the landmark contrasts with its surrounding environment or context. It may be a "tower silhoutted over low roofs, a bright surface in a drab street, or a church among stores." The landmark serves as a point of reference or orientation. An example of landmarks in Denver, the May D & F Tower, The United Bank Building or the Denver Art Museum.
Paths- "Networks of habitual movement through the urban complex, are the most potent means by which the whole can be ordered. Paths should have a characteristic spatial quality, a special texture of floor or facade, or a typical mode of planting ." Paths are the most travelled routes through the city, for example the 16th Street Mall.
Nodes- A node is e notable public interchange or gathering place. It is a "distinct, unforgettable place."


Nodes should have sharp, distinct boundaries so you know when you are entering and leaving it. An example is the Intrawest Plaze on 17th Street and California.
District- an area of homogeneous character". This character can be a consistent spatial quality, or architectural style, or a typical building feature, or even a typical use. Denver's ditricts are the Larimer Square area or the DCPA.
E d o e s- are linear boundaries where contrasting elements in the city come together, for example where Colfax borders the Civic Cente r Park.
The map on the next page documents these concepts and from that an 'abstraction' of the city form evolves.


LANDMARKS
Ma i o r
Minor
1. Union Station
2 . Larimer Street
3 . Tabo r Center
4. May D £. F Tower
5. DGPA
6. City and County Bldg
1.Skyline Plaza Network
2. Masonic Temple/
Paramount Theater
3. May D £ F Skating Rink
4. United Bank (Cash Register
Bui ld i ng )
7. Civic Center Park B. State Cap i to l
9. Denver Art Museum
10. Denver Public Library
NODES
M a.jor_________________________________Minor
1. Market Street Center 1. 16th £. Glenarm
2. La r i m e r-W r i t e r Square 2. Republic Plaza
3. Tabor-16th Street
P romenade
4. Prudential
5. Buss top between Wool worth and
the Denver on 15th
6. Civic Center Terminal
7. Arapahoe-Auraria-UCD
Connection
B. Lawrence-Auraria Connection
Connection
(upper and lower)


inventory of public spaces


PUBLIC SPACES INVENTORY
Denver's network of public spaces provide excellent opportunities for public art. This following inventory focuses on public spaces and privately owned spaces with public access, as the guidelines issued by the Art in Public Places Progran state that a public space is defined by an area with "free and unimpeded access" to the site.
In 19B3, the Civic Design Team of the Denver Partnership with the assistance of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts completed the Downtown Denver Public Spaces Project which inventoried existing and potential pubLic spaces in downtown Denver. The study limits of that inventory will also be used for this thesis. The primary public spaces mapped on the public space study are from the Public Spaces project. This inventory provides a basic outline for the city and its potential for public art.
The secondary public spaces are those public spaces that do not receive as high a volume of use, are not as large, or those that do not qualify as a conventional public space. An exampLe of a secondary public space would be the side of a building, a busy street corner, or a skywalk bridges. These are public spaces that could be amenable to a very specific type of public art either permanent or temporary.


The twelve sites that are listed were chosen not only as public spaces, but also because of their potential as public art sites. The following criteria was used in their selection:
is the site situated in the network of public spaces?
is the site within prominent paths of
circulation or near a path of congregation
wiLl placing art on the site enhance the pedestrian/vehicular experience?
Note: Also included in the Denver Partnership's Downtown Denver
Public Spaces Study i s s matrix which includes in its c r i t e r i a
'use/user' category. This category is most helpful i n choosing
spaces within the ci ty that are active and visible. Th is mat ri
has been reproduced i n the Appendix of thi s document f 0 r f u rthe
reference


21th AV
19 th At
It th At
17 th AV
It th AVI
A public spaces secondary
s
m
s
public space study


PUBLIC SPACES:SECONDARY
1. Tabor Office Building Plaza
2. Federal Reserve Bank (Curtis and 16th]
3. Wall of Empire Savings (California and 16th)
4. Entry of West in Hotel
5. Champa and California ALleys B. Alley off Curtis Street
7. Wall of Manhatten Cafe Building across from Dave Cook on 16th
8. Space on 16th Street Mall in front of Mariowes
9. DCPA entry at 14th and Curtis
10. Triangular park area by Lawrence Street Center and UCD
11. Denver PublicLibrary Lawn
12. Macintosh Park Plaza
adrienne anderson creating place through public art


SUMMARY
This inventory functions as a backbone for the civic context of Denver. The organization placing art can look at the available public spaces, and their proximity to one another. The inventory
combined \ with the user matrix g i v e s an idea of the spaces with
high use, and the type of use that occurs, visi tors, shoppers,
etc..
nnH*>rnnrrmtind SYltViroiitfVi miWHr* nrf


inventory of existing art


INVENTORY OF EXISTING AF.T
Denver has a considerable amount of existing it historical or that art that is considered' example, the Pioneer Monument at Broadway and 'Bucking Bronco1 statue in Civic Center Park, documents the location of all existing outdoo downtown Denver, as well as the temporary art this inventory is not limited to art in publi includes that on private space also.
public art, most of monumental', for Colfax, or the The following map r public art in Please note that c space, but


w existing sculpture permanent
O existing sculpture temporary
public art study


existing art/ public spaces


PUBLIC 5PACES/EXISTING ART
Understanding the relationship of publ assists in deciding where to place art The following map and overlay show the elements.
It reveals that in downtown Denver the in relationship to the network of publ Most of Denver's art is of a histories has been placed in relationship to bui the same. Example: The Capitol and Ci highest concentration of public art.
ic spaces to existing art in the future.
combination of the two
public art does not exist
i c spaces.
1 or monumental na tu re and
Idings or parks that are
vie Center Park have the


SUMMARY
As mentioned, the majority of Denver's public art or in this case outdoor art is located in Civic Center Park.
The inventory of public spaces and the Denver abstract highlight several spaces which are prime locations for the placement of art.
^Market Street Terminal- a high use area and
destination point for commuters to and from downtown ^ Civic Center Terminal/CLeve l and Place- same criteria as above. Perhaps even higher use because of Broadway and RTD terminal connections.
^ 1 S t h Street Mall- major path in city, contains many high activity plazas.
These locations should take priority when public spaces are reviewed for the placement of art.
Temporary or alternative can be seen on the Denver Abstract map. The nodes at LarimeiWriter and Tabor are within major paths of the city, receiving a high pedestrian use, and in the case of Larimer and Writer, high vehicular use.
There are several alleys and blank building walls (public space study, secondary spaces] which offer opportunity along the 1Gth Street Mall.
The existing art map shows that there is almost no art on the 16th Street Mall, which in view of its status as a major pathway through the city is curious.


I feel the 15th Street Mall, the Market Street Terminal, and Civic Center TerminaL should be considered foremost for the placement of public art. Next, the DCPA District which serves as a landmark and a visual entry into the downtown area should be considered for numerous potential sites.The galleria and DCPA Park are excellent locations for a sculpture park which could continue through the galleria and offset Curtis Street, making it a more inviting connection into the core of downtown Denver.


site context


The last element in the process for pLacing art in the urban environment is the site.
It is at this level that the artist should be most actively involved. It is crucial that the character of the site and community be understood and documented for reference. This documentation gives the artist a basis on which to start the creative process.
At the initial stages, after a site has been selected, analysis should begin. Completion dates should be set for compiling the information, determining the 'essence' of the site and the community in its context. This information should be presented to the artist for a basis in determining the scope of his/her art. These guidelines wouLd also assist the sponsoring agency in determining what type of art should be commissioned, as we l l as recommendations for issues that could be resolved.
The greatest success would be achieved by introducing other design disciplines at an early stage in the planning process would give the sponsoring agency and the artist a variety of approaches to the issue that perhaps would not be addressed. These recommendations should be optional, however, the site portfolio would produce design guidelines pertaining to the site and users that should determine the scope of the art that is placed there. This multi-discipLined approach would provide a learning process for those involved and encourage an awareness of site responsive art.


This process would also already been created by could arise.
be helpful in siting determining potentia
art which has difficulties which


SITE CONTEXT
The following is a tentative list of basic factors which significantly affect both the cost and appearance of a project. A thorough analysis of these provides basic information about a site and its surroundings.
Physical Factors
Built Environment
* surrounding structures
(building heights, materi walls, culverts)
* building types, conditions
* lighting
* visual and noise pollution
* structural constraints
Utility Net wo rk
* easements, right-of-ways *
* signal systems
(capacity, condition, and how are they reached)
* location of transmission and telephone lines
* existing land use a l s ,
* paving materials
* street furniture
* outdoor services and amenities
* energy sources (capacity)
* underlying conditions


Natural Environ merit
* existing vegetation * microclimates
* existing grade * wind corridors
* sun and shade analysis * drainagelnatural and
(effects of existing structures) constructed)
* view corridors * waterbodies
;iovement Patterns
* vehicular patterns (car, bus, train, and density)
* dominant pedestrian patterns
Conditions and Trends
* are overall conditions improving or deteriorating?
* what are existing plans for new construction?
* what are proposed changes in traffic, parking or publi t ransport?
* available maintenance?
SOCIAL FACTORS
Popu Lation
* existing and potential users of site
* current functions of site
* what functions take precedence?
* what does site lack based on these functions?
* emergency access
* parking


Historic
* past use of site and its surroundings
* special community characteristics
* particular legends or stories significant to site or surrounding area_
Conditions and Trends
* occurrences of crime and/or vandalism
General Considerations
* proximity to k^y open spaces or other locations of public art
* needs that could be met in conjunction with public art
* problems that could be solved through design or placement of public art (poor circulation, seating, renovation)
This information could then be condensed to identify the dominant characteristics of the site, the opportunities and constraints, the effect on the budget, what amenities are needed to create a successful work, etc....
In other words, what factors will most affect the site, and what would be most beneficial to the community.


SITE CONTEXT; DCPA PARK
To exemplify the application of this process, I have chosen a site in Denver where currently public art now exists and have applied the site criteria to determine what the considerations for placing art in this public space should be. The site is the DCPA Park where the Solar Fountain is currently located. For background information on the Solar Fountain, please refer to the Appendix of this document.
SITE:
A 3.5 acre dedicated park owned and maintained by Denver Parks and Recreation on Speer Boulevard between Champa and Arapahoe, just west of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
The following process addresses the above mentioned site as though no art were placed there. The graphic segment analysizes the current conditions end characteristics of that site. The site brief condenses the physical and social factors, and summarizes the opportunities and constraints of the site, suggesting an approach to placing art on that site.
The underlying conditions and an analysis of the site in terms of circulation, constraints, opportunities and offsite connections are depicted graphically on the next two pages. Photos of the site are also included in the graphic analysis section.


SITE CONTEXT
The following is a tentative list of basic factors which significantly affect both the cost and appearance of a project. A thorough analysis of these provides basic information about a site and its surroundings.
Physical Factors
Built Environment
* surrounding structures
(building heights, mate walls, culverts]
* building types, conditions
* lighting
* visual and noise pollution
* structural constraints
Utility N e t v; o r k
* easements, right-of-ways * energy sources
(capacity)
* signal systems * underlying conditions
(capacity, condition, and how are they reached)
* location of transmission and telephone lines
* existing Land use rials,
* paving materials
* street furniture
* outdoor services and ameni ti es


Natural Environment
* existing vegetation * microclimates
* existing grade * wind corridors
* sun and shade analysis * drainage[natura l and
(effects of existing structures) constructed)
* view corridors * waterbodies
'-;ovement Patterns
* vehicular patterns * emergency access
(car, bus, train, and density)
* dominant pedestrian patterns parking
Conditions and Trends
* are overall conditions improving or deteriorating?
* what are existing plans for new construction?
* what are proposed changes in traffic, parking or publi t ranspo rt?
* available maintenance?
SOCIAL FACTORS
Population
* existing and potential users of site
* current functions of site
* what functions take precedence?
* what does site lack based on these functions?


Historic
* past use of site and its surroundings
* special comrr.unity characteristics
* particular Legends or stories significant to site or surrounding area_
Conditions and Trends
* occurrences of crime and/or vandalism
General Considerations
* proximity to key open spaces or other locations of public art
* needs that could be met in conjunction with public art
* problems that could be solved through design or placement of public art (poor circulation, seating, renovation)
This information could then be condensed to identify the dominant characteristics of the site, the opportunities and constraints, the effect on the budget, what amenities are needed to create a successful work, etc....
In other words, what factors wiLl most affect the site, and what would be most beneficial to the community.


SITE CONTEXT: DCPA PAHK
To exemplify the application of this process, I have chosen a site in Denver where currently public art now exists and have applied the site criteria to determine what the considerations for placing art in this public space should be. The site is the DCPA Park where the Solar Fountain is currently located. For background information on the Solar Fountain, please refer to the Appendix of this document.
SITE:
A 3.5 acre dedicated park owned and maintained by Denver Parks and Recreation on Speer Boulevard between Champa and Arapahoe, just west of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
The following process addresses the above mentioned site as though no art were placed there. The graphic segment analysizes the current conditions end characteristics of that site. The site brief condenses the physical and social factors, and summarizes the opportunities and constraints of the site, suggesting an approach to placing art on that site.
The underlying conditions and an analysis of the site in terms of circulation, constraints, opportunities and offsite connections are depicted graphically on the next two pages. Photos of the site are also included in the graphic analysis section.


arapahoe st.
legend
------existing contours
---<3 storm sewer
*----sanitary sewer
t electricity H water f-ostreet light system
DCPA PARK
utility network


to ucd and triangular
= tocurrigan convention center
pedestrian patterns
dominant II II ll ll secondary vehicular patterns liiiiiiiiillliii existing vegetation
deciduous trees
yj* evergreen trees
to small greenspace, heliport
DCPA PARK
site analysis


SITE BRIEF:
This 3.5 acre site is periodically maintained by the Denver Parks and Recreation Department. Additional landscaping has been in the planning stages. This small 'park' has been proposed as a 'connector' between downtown Denver and the Auraria campus. It seems until a decision has been made as to the implementation of this concept, any further improvements to the park are 'on hold1. Overall conditions are relatively good as the proximity of the Auraria campus, downtown, and the DCPA make it a dominant public space, and a part of the small 'greenway' that aligns Spee r Bou levs rd.
There is good visibility from Speer Boulevard heading North, with a high volume of vehicular traffic. The users of the site are mostly students from the Auraria campus and the local transients who frequent the Champa street area.
The site now functions as a Light recreation area, with sunbathing, frisbee, sleeping, and studying being the main activities.
As there is little or no protection from the elements ( the site is very flat and exposed) the area receives little use during hot or cold days. The existing vegetation is in its very earLy stages and is Located mostly on thefar north or south of the site [see graphic analysis).
The site has no amenities, no food vendors, shelter, or seating. Traffic noise from Speer is a problem mostly on the perimeters of


and s o r.e
the site. Also there is street lighting on perimeters, illumination from the DCPA at night. The natural light is very intense as there is no shade on site.
The scale of the site differs from any other site in downtown Denver. The DCPA acts as a monolithic backdrop with the two buildings of varying construction and texture, (see graphic analysis). The DCPA site has grand background views to the mountains, and the foreground views of Speer Boulevard are not that offensive because of the Large old trees and glimpse of historic Auraria architecture and greenspace. But the site does give a feeling of exposure on three sides which detracts greatly as a pedestrian feels vulnerable anywhere on site.
There is opportunity to maximize visual experience from the DCPA's GaLLeria to the site. 14th Street and Curtis is an area which is usually shady and a little dismal. The waLk through the Galleria produces a fiLtered light from the overhead glass canopy. Upon entering the 'grand staircase' which overlooks the site, a dramatic view and intense sunlight are revealed, providing an interesting transition in Less than one block.


CONCLUSIONS:
^ The site hes great potential as an 'arts center' because of its proximity to the DCPA and the campus population. It would be a viable extension of the 'arts experience during an evening at the theater or during intermission. The visual arts would provide a backdrop for outdoor performances, and provide a variety of 'arts' experiences.
^ The flatness of the site would have to be addressed initially as peopLe would not be enticedto use an area with no grass, shade, or seating, or any elements intended to provide comfort.
Scale is crucial in considering the placement of art on this site. The DCPA buildings are large, and horizontal, the topography has no relief to break up the flatness, and the view of the mountains adds to the immense scale.
^ Vandalism and maintenance are a vital consideration at this time.
^ Placing one artwork on this site will not rectify the existing problems. An interdisciplinary approach involving the DCPA, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the Planning Commission is needed to insure a successful project.


^ This site lends itself to site specific artwork that would incorporate some amenities.
^ It receives moderate pedestrian and heavy offsite vehicular traffic which maximizes viewer potential.
^ The site offers a variety of possibilities when the surrounding lend uses are considered. The ample amount of open space [including the DCPA galleria ) make the site unique to downtown Denver. The only other comparable area is Civic Center Park, which because of Colfax Boulevard is perceived as separate from downtown. The galleria was originally designed as a 'people space', but the services are not there to support it. A small amount of retail, and indoor-outdoor food facilities would increase the activity and use, and the DCPA Park would provide a pleasant extension of that space. Because of its proximity to Auraria, downtown and Larimer, this site has the potential to become more than a footpath.


conclusions


The following conclusions serve as an overview of the research, analysis and case study of this thesis.
* Past and current history have shown that there are common elements which are shared by public art that is significant or that creates a 'sense of place'.
* The current guidelines issued by the National Endowment for the Arts do not address the importance of the site and its various relationships (within the city, to the art, and to the communi t y) .
* Not addressing site and audience in an analytic manner can resuLt in art that does not provide any experience for the viewer, can excede budget, and creates problems on site rather than contributing to their solutions.
* Thorough planning and anlysis at the initial stages of commissioning a work of art can address issues that might not have been considered, and provide the artist with information that he/she might not have the time to provide.
* An interdisciplinary approach between artist, architect, and landscape architect is desirable whenever possib Le.
* Denver has no formal 'art masterplan' and often art is placed randomly throughout the city with little regard to 'appropriateness' of the site.


* The case study reveals that existing art in Denver does not exist in relation to public spaces where greater visibility for the greatest number would be possible.
* The high volume of people places such as the Civic Center Terminal, the Market Street Terminal and the 16th Street Mall are the most viable sites for art.
* The process outlined in the case study should be incLuded in the National Endowment for the Arts, Art in Public Places guidelines as a prerequisite that must be fulfilled by those requesting funding.




ECONOMIC VALUE OF ART IN THE CITY
Downtown Denver has great potential to become a center for the arts in the Rocky Mountain region. The Denver Art Museum, the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and numerous private art galleries attract people throughout the region to the city. The arts have proven vital to the economic health of a city. A study done in 1974 by the Greater Philadelphia Arts Alliance showed that beautiful architecture and public art attract visitor doLlars, bolster tourism, and make a significant contribution to income and employment in a number of support industries such as printing, publishing, graphic arts, advertising, food services, insurance, security, construction and others. Interesting, quality public art and architecture have an effect on real estate development which then increases tax revenues to the city, which in turn entices more business and skilled labor to live there.