Color Field FAREWELL

 

                                         Color Field Farewell:

What had been a sad and lonely part of City Park became awash with shimmering color and life delighting park-goers over the past year. The Color Field art installation south of the DeBoer Canyon was the brainchild of Denver artists, Sarah and Josh Palmeri. The installation was the recipient of a grant from Denver Arts and Venues under their “P.S. You Are Here” program, a neighborhood revitalization effort. With the help of volunteers, Sarah and Josh planted 6000 painted gardening stakes into the seed beds of the Lily Pond, south of the DeBoer Canyon and created in 1924 by landscape architect Saco de Boer. The artists had painstakingly painted the stakes in different colors on both sides so that as park-goers walked around the beds they would get a sense of movement as well as luminous color. The colors were inspired by the colors of Monet’s water lily paintings, the original inspiration of Saco de Boer.

 

The Palmeris discovered the abandoned Lily Pond as they explored City Park, across the street from their home near 17th Avenue Parkway. Sarah was fascinated by the obloid shape of the seed beds and the mystery surrounding a spot that seemed to have been a focal point in the past. She researched the origins of the 1924 Lily Pond and found old photographs of Victorian ladies in flowing dresses and picture hats strolling under their parasols by a willow-lined pond glowing with the color of floating lily pads. Sarah was hooked. She became determined to restore the Lily Pond to its former beauty and wonder. Teaming her skills as an abstract artist with her architect husband’s spatial visioning, the two conceived of a space echoing Monet’s lily pond paintings and also bringing attention to an area that had been long abandoned. Sarah and Josh hoped that through art they could build momentum for restoring the area.

On May 7, Sarah and Josh gathered at Color Field to de-install the exhibit. The sadness of dismantling what had become such a beloved landmark for park-goers was offset by the steady flow of people coming to retrieve free stakes to reinvent Color Field in their own landscapes. Park Hill neighbor, Louis Plachowski will be featuring the stakes in his garden, one of the gardens featured on the Annual Park Hill Garden Walk. Others will use their stakes to create their own artistic vision. Denver artist, Darrell Anderson, a City Park Alliance (CPA) board member, plans to fashion artworks that will be sold to benefit City Park at the CPA Golf Tournament in June.  Fellow CPA board member, Lawren Cary, plans to make picture frames out of his stakes.

So Color Field lives on. Two artists, an abandoned Lily Pond, and a pandemic weary public came together to create a sense of joy, wonder and community in City Park as strollers marveled, children played hide and seek, picnickers chatted, bench-sitters day-dreamed by a miraculous work of art that transformed us all.

City Park Friends and Neighbors was the proud Denver Arts and Venues sponsor of Color Field and contributed funding along with Denver Arts and Venues, City Park Alliance, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Zoo.

 

 

 

 

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