Client: CSU Spur
Location: Denver, CO, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $1,200,000
NINE dot ARTS
Associate Vice Chancellor, Spur Campus & Special Projects
Colorado State University System
What do water, animals, and agriculture have in common? They each impact overall human health and contribute to a thriving and sustainable ecosystem. Additionally, they are each central themes in Colorado State University’s Spur Campus, located along the South Platte River within the redeveloped National Western Center. The campus will support university curricula and community-wide programs, implemented across three world-class research centers. Vida focuses on understanding, improving, and promoting the value of animal health as well as the human-animal bond. Among several programs, it features equine-assisted services and a donor-subsidized veterinary clinic for companion animals. Terra explores food and agriculture, with rooftop greenhouses, a food lab, a teaching and commissary kitchen, vertical gardens, and more. Hydro focuses on water, featuring Denver Water’s water quality laboratory, studies of the nearby South Platte River, event space, artist studios, a farm-to-table cafe, and more.
NINE dot ARTS partnered with faculty and administrators, city and state officials, developers and architects, and other CSU Spur collaborators to develop the community art plan for CSU Spur, paving the way for engaging and educational art experiences across all three buildings.
The process included...
Benchmark Research: We surveyed 25 public art programs and arts administrators across university campuses, private developments, and entertainment districts to identify best practices and synthesize some of the most successful elements from each.
Interviews: We conducted interviews with a range of Colorado artists and art administrators to understand key factors for success across a variety of civic spaces.
Establishing Selection Criteria: To ensure cohesion among the campus’ collection and its depiction of the intersections between water, animals/humans, and agriculture, we identified four criteria to guide the selection of public art.
Defining Art Typologies and Locations: Lastly, we established interior and exterior art locations in alignment with three typologies (landmark, plaza, and play).
CSU Spur's community art plan provided strategic direction for the public call for artists and international artist selections. “We were inspired by not only the volume of submissions, but by the unique and thoughtful ways that artists around the world think about artwork within the public realm,” said Martha Weidmann, CEO of NINE dot ARTS. “Once complete, this highly visible network of installations will add an important component — one that celebrates the connections between food, water, and health — to Colorado’s vibrant public art collection.” As the CSU Spur campus continues to grow, this community art plan will lay the groundwork for future art experiences, meanwhile educating and inspiring audiences through an engaging mix of art and science.