Back in 1998, Greeley residents approached the city council with an intriguing idea: designate one percent of new public construction project budgets for public art – either for installation at the new construction site itself, or to be placed in a fund for further purchases. Since then, the city’s collection of indoor and outdoor artworks has swelled to nearly 450 pieces.
“It’s indicative of the people who live in this community,” says Greeley director of culture, parks, and recreation Andy McRoberts about the initiative.
There’s just an implicit understanding that everyone deserves exposure to art in one way or another.
Of course, what is and isn’t art can be a bit subjective. But McRoberts says that’s exactly the point. “It’s partly about beautification,” he says, “but it’s more about exposure – getting something in front of the public that they wouldn’t normally see outside of a major metropolitan area or museum.”
It’s also about the artists, McRoberts adds, who, though they come from all over the country, primarily hail from Greeley. “The art commission is one of the most active boards I’ve ever worked with,” he says. “They and their staff have done a great job honoring our creative community.”
See Our Art – Everywhere!
You’d expect to find public art in a park or along a trail, but how about in an alleyway, lining a major traffic corridor, over an irrigation ditch, or as a manhole cover? Greeley incorporates public art into each of these unexpected places and more. In fact, the city boasts over 120 outdoor public art pieces that have been donated or purchased since 1967. Each of these pieces have been strategically placed to celebrate artistic expression and add interest to specific locations. So whether it’s the exterior wall of the Greeley History Museum, the art alleyway just north of the 9th Street Plaza, or a commemorative piece in front of the Union Colony Civic Center, there is always something interesting around nearly every corner. For more details, visit the online public art finder map at GreeleyArt.com.
Art Happens – Thanks to City Volunteers
The City of Greeley has a volunteer-based Art Commission that boasts a dozen actively involved city council-appointed members. If their name wasn’t Greeley Art Commission it would be Advocates for Art, because essentially, that’s what this group embodies. These dedicated volunteers work in tandem with city staff in the selection and installation of all public art projects, including those like Sculpture on Loan, that go beyond the 1% for Art program. Their overarching mission is to enhance public spaces with engaging artwork and increase art awareness and appreciation throughout the city. To inform the public about their activities, commission members connect with the public during dedications, festivals, and community events, gathering input for future potential art installations and ways to improve the program.
Greeley has a robust range of resident volunteers and volunteer opportunities. If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit greeleygov.com/boards.
Tointon Gallery for Visual Arts
Located near the main entrance of the Greeley Recreation Center and adjacent to the Union Colony Civic Center, the Tointon Gallery presents twelve changing exhibits each year. This public art gallery provides an easily accessible venue that exposes the community and visitors to a variety of interesting media and artists’ styles, inspiring curiosity, thought and dialogue. This spacious 1,000 square foot space features work by local and nationally acclaimed artists. There is no cost for artists or organization to display their work and admission is free.