Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

March 2018

Denver's Freedom Park Wins Grant for Public Art

By Chandler Garland

The Trust for Public Land, in collaboration with Denver Urban Gardens, has announced a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for public art at New Freedom Park in Denver. The grant will fund an artist's design and creation of art pieces that will not only provided much needed shade, but will protect park trees and plants. This plan coincides with The Trust for Public Land's dedication to creating parks and protecting land to ensure healthy, livable communities for generations.

"This is such an exciting opportunity to work with an artist to reengage the community around New Freedom Park. Not only will we be able to create a unique work of art that shades the families that use the park every day, but we also have an opportunity to work with a local artist to celebrate and bring attention to one of Denver's most culturally diverse neighborhoods," said Jim Petterson, Southwest and Colorado State director for the Trust for Public Land.

"This Art Works grant from the NEA will allow The Trust for Public Land and our partners, Denver Parks and Recreation and Denver Urban Gardens, to remind the broader Denver community of what truly makes New Freedom Park so special—the 7,391 people who live within a 10-minute walk of this unique neighborhood park."

Transformed in 2012 from a mostly vacant lot to a new park serving a unique, multinational refugee community, New Freedom Park celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. It is now cherished common ground with gardens, play spaces, seating and a soccer field all designed around a large cottonwood tree. The park has brought together diverse cultures and provided a safe place for family recreation. However, upon the tree's removal, the park was left without a source of shade. The aim of this new project, which will be implemented in early 2019, is to enable artist and community collaboration to provide long-term shade, beauty and learning that highlights the diversity of New Freedom Park users.

"Denver's public outdoor spaces are one of the most important assets to our city, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with The Trust for Public Land and the National Endowment for the Arts to enhance and celebrate New Freedom Park. This grant will allow us to bring an exceptional piece of art to the neighborhood surrounding New Freedom Park, while enhancing this loved community gathering space with much needed shade," said Michael Buchenau, executive director of Denver Urban Gardens.

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