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Client: City and County of Denver Public Art Program

Location: Denver, CO, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $125,000

Project Team

Artist/Designer

Jaime Molina

Fabricator/Installer

Michael Moore

Tres Birds Workshop

Public Art Program Administrator

Mary Valdez

Denver Arts & Venues

Overview

“La Veleta” is a playful depiction of seven animal faces composed of colorful mosaic tiles stacked forty feet high, much like a totem pole. The seven animals; a bear, a lynx, a fox, a mountain lion, an owl, a ram and a snake, symbolize the diverse ecosystems found in Colorado as well as the diversity found in the surrounding neighborhoods. This artwork is meant to “watch” over and protect the communities that surround it. “La Veleta” means “weathervane” in Spanish and this piece is also meant to track the weather from the four directions.

Goals

The goal of this work was to create a "beacon" and "gateway" into the southwest Denver neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are some of the most diverse in Denver and have a high concentration of youth and immigrant families. The sculpture sits in the corner of Barnum Park, facing 6th Avenue and Federal Blvd., both heavily travelled corridors in Denver. This work welcomes visitors to the area and creates a sense of place for the park and surrounding communities.

Process

This project was a collaboration between the artist, Jaime Molina, the City and County of Denver Public Art Program, with assistance from fabricator/installer, Tres Birds Workshop. This was the first large-scale three-dimensional artwork created by the artist, Jaime Molina. He is a well-known muralist in Denver and was selected for the project based on his carefully crafted proposal and vision for the work. Working with Tres Birds Workshop on engineering and the creation of the concrete substrate, Jaime laid all of the mosaic tiles by hand. The piece is also lit from below, adding a beautiful nighttime presence. The collaboration for this stunning piece, by all three parties, made it successful.