First Asphalt Art Installations Planned in Fort Collins

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Three asphalt art projects are scheduled to be installed in Fort Collins over the next few weeks, introducing street murals as a new form of art in the city.

The first art installation will be in the Andersonville neighborhood on Romero Street between 9th Street/Lemay Avenue and 10th Street. The other installations are on Hickory Street near Soft Gold Park and Maple Street near Putnam Elementary School.

The project is funded by a grant from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and aims to transform public spaces, particularly public spaces in neighborhoods whose residents were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as build community through the installation process.

“We are excited to introduce a new form of public art in Fort Collins,” said Nick Heimann an Active Modes Specialist for the City and the project manager. “In the future, we plan to roll out the program to the broader community. For now, though, we’ve enjoyed working closely with the Andersonville, Hickory Village, and Northwest-Martin neighbors to implement our NACTO grant.”

The first mural on Romero Street will feature sugar beets and short hoes in vivid, rich colors. The sugar beets and short hoes represent the agricultural connection to the Tres Colonias neighborhoods, whose neighbors in Andersonville, Alta Vista, and Buckingham historically worked on sugar beet farms.

Luis Santacruz, a recent graduate from Colorado State University’s Visual Arts Program, is the artist for the Romero Street and Hickory Street murals. The artist for the Maple Street mural is Brian Barrett, a local artist, and Bicycle Ambassador.

After installation, asphalt art is intended to last for the life of the street surface until the street is repaved as part of routine maintenance. The artist will be responsible for maintaining the mural as needed.

Asphalt art will not interfere with street markings and projects are evaluated to ensure they are appropriate for safety. Other communities have also installed asphalt art, and the City has received assistance from Portland, Ore., as well as Boulder and Denver.

The City partnered with Bike Fort Collins and Mujeres de Colores as community partners. The City’s FC Moves, Traffic Operations, Streets, Utilities, Neighborhood Services, and Engineering departments, as well as the Art in Public Places program, all contributed to the effort.

Ultimately, the City envisions expanding the asphalt art program in the future.

“Our asphalt art program will be community-led and community-driven, meaning community members will have the chance to identify locations they’d like to see asphalt art and coordinate the design and installation,” Heimann said. “We’ve also created a fund called the Paint Pot, where community members will be able to apply to have the costs of asphalt art covered knowing these can be expensive installations. Our goal is that public art is accessible in Fort Collins regardless of one’s ability to pay for costs on their own.”

Residents of each neighborhood where installations are taking place and beyond are invited to come out, grab a brush, and help the artist paint the street from noon to 5 p.m. on each installation day.

Volunteer shifts are available for registration at https://engage.fcgov.com.

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