Wild horses run through The Meadows, children walk to school in Founders Village and bears and moose roam downtown. All three scenes are just a few of the many depicted through Castle Rock's Public …
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Wild horses run through The Meadows, children walk to school in Founders Village and bears and moose roam downtown. All three scenes are just a few of the many depicted through Castle Rock's Public Art Program, which includes murals, sculptures, and indoor and outdoor art. Here are some things to know about the town's public art program and what's new this year.
About the program
The Castle Rock Public Art Commission operates on a mission to bring distinctive public art to the community and make art experiences accessible to the public, as stated in the art program's master plan. The commission has purchased 24 public artworks since 2002 in a variety of mediums and places them throughout town. Castle Rock has also participated in the Douglas County Art Encounters exhibition since 2008. Art Encounters is a year-long outdoor sculpture exhibit that brings artwork to Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker and Roxborough.
Castle Rock's Public Art Commission recently made two announcements. First is that it has created a new Public Art Plan, adopted by the town council in October, which outlines six goals for the town's public art program. Those goals are: to continue participating in the Douglas County Art Encounters program, to develop a rigorous selection of public art, to bring pedestrian-scale artwork downtown, to commission a new project at Philip S. Miller Park, to increase awareness of the program and to develop a maintenance and conservation policy for the town's public art.
Second, the commission has installed Castle Rock's first public “art wrap,” a high-quality adhesive wrap, on a traffic signal cabinet at Perry Street and Plum Creek Parkway. The wrap features the artwork “Scooter,” by Seattle-based Factory 43 Art Collective.
The community's thoughts
In planning for the new Public Art Plan, the Public Art Commission solicited a community questionnaire that received 140 responses. More than 90 percent of respondents believed public art adds value to Castle Rock. They also believe public art improves the look and feel of the town and helps commemorate its history and heritage. Additionally, 64 percent supported constructing an arts center for Castle Rock.
Funding a public art program, however, got mixed reviews. Residents were divided on whether public art should be publicly or privately funded. Many supported a combination of the two, according to the Public Art Plan.
An artist's perspective
Robert Allison, who lives and works in Parker, has worked as a full-time artist for 20 years and created two artworks featured through the Castle Rock public art program — one, a bronze sculpture portraying Philip S. Miller and his wife as children. The bronze was unveiled at Philip S. Miller Park in 2015. Allison said having a public art program in the community is beneficial for the artist and the public alike.
“To be in a place that puts art out in public, for me, it's just a thrill to see. One, because it's displaying the type of art that I love and the other is it's educating the community, or getting them use to seeing that type of art,” Allison said.
For an artist, he described being featured in the program as an honor, likening it to a musician hearing their song on the radio.
“It's a thrill,” he said, “knowing that especially in the community people can see my artwork and they can relate it back to me.”
Paying for the program
Castle Rock's public art program does not draw from taxpayer money to purchase art. Rather, artworks are funded through the Philip S. Miller Trust Fund, with an approximate budget of $25,000 a year. Philip S. Miller was a local banker and philanthropist who, with his wife, bequeathed Castle Rock a portion of the proceeds from their estate.
Expenditures are determined by the town council on an annual basis, according to the town website. More information about the program, an interactive map of the town's public artworks and the full Public Art Plan are available at CRgov.com/publicart.
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