ARTISTS CENTRAL TO DOWNTOWN PLAZA DESIGN
PUEBLO, Colo.—April 29, 2014—The Central Plaza Revival (CPR) is in full swing with the support and talents of local artists and volunteers. Earlier this year, the Pueblo Arts Alliance received a $7,500 grant from the Colorado Garden Foundation for irrigation and landscape of Central Plaza. The grant award was matched with funding from Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority (PURA) and the City of Pueblo to begin the initial phase of the project.
“With the enthusiastic collaboration of local, creative talent, Central Plaza is clearly and rapidly evolving into an exciting and welcoming community gathering spot,” said Susan Fries, executive director, Pueblo Arts Alliance. “The Arts Alliance mission—to simultaneously engage artists, businesses and the community—is certainly evident in CPR.” The grand opening is planned for the June 6 First Friday Art Walk.
Added Fries, “CPR interlocks public arts and outdoor public space. It is, in essence, ‘placemaking’—we are fortunate to have so many groups and persons who care about the city, the Creative Corridor and the people of Pueblo.” Placemaking is a transformative approach of involving the community in creating and improving the public places they share.
In addition to community artists, businesses and volunteers, Bill Zwick, RLA, City of Pueblo Planning Department, is the CPR project manager. PURA is leading the master plan design process of Stanley Consultants. CPR will include landscaping, artistic sidewalk treatments, performance stage, interpretive botanical educational signage, custom seating areas and interactive art elements. The major pieces of art that will serve as accents to the overall design, which are being worked on by all of the artists, with help from volunteers, are:
Mike Strescino and Mathew Taylor, well-known for their murals throughout the city, created “Big Bear and Origami Cranes with Wooden Owls” on the Central Plaza adjacent Pueblo ARTery wall. The co-founder of the Pueblo ARTery—and active participant in CPR—is Gregory Howell, also founder/owner of Kadoya Gallery.
Sculptors Anne Scott and Danielle Harwell created concrete planting pots to look like faces, out of which plants and trees will be planted to represent hair.
Metal Artist Ron Barela and Fiber Artist Ina Bernard merged metal and fiber (felting) to encase two concrete planting pots, using the themes of botanicals and faces.
Abstract Artist Kim Faiella-Furhh; Graphic Artist Rita Pando; Glass Artist Cathy Valenzuela; Painter/Muralist Bonnie Waugh; and Painter/Sculptor Vicente Martinez Ortega worked in unison to design a tiled wall using recycled glass and pottery, with a botanical theme.
In addition, simple concrete benches, which will be embellished with stencil art, were constructed by a donation from Frank Massett of Massett Construction.
Said Bernard, of adding her fiber art techniques to Central Plaza, “CPR is my first venture into helping create a public space and public art. I have enjoyed the spirit and common goal approach of everyone involved—and cannot wait to see the final product."
Added Scott, who is designing the face planters, “A few of the reasons I chose to become an active part of CPR is because it is in line with my ideas of living a creative and resourceful life. I was hoping to meet and create with people who have high hopes for the community, while creating an interesting and artful public space. I'm happy to say, we are well on our way to doing just that.”
“In addition to the altruistic placemaking aspects of the project, which are so critical to any city and community, this project also supports tourism efforts in downtown,” said Fries. “Tour groups and conventioneers from the Pueblo Convention Center and the Riverwalk will be able to easily navigate and visit this newly designed art and educational space. Central Plaza also serves as a thoroughfare for pedestrians accessing the regional public transportation center.”
The sponsor of the redesign is the Pueblo Arts Alliance. The City of Pueblo has donated $2,500 toward the project; PURA has donated $5,000; and in-kind donations from community artists and businesses have matched the cash contributions. These are in addition to the grant from the Colorado Garden Foundation grant, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to furthering the horticultural industry and the producer of the Colorado Garden & Home Show.
The Pueblo Arts Alliance mission is to promote the production, enjoyment and collaboration of the arts for the purposes of economic development and an enriched quality of life in Pueblo. The Arts Alliance, as administrator of the Pueblo Creative Corridor, a state-certified Creative District, is supported by Colorado Creative Industries and the Boettcher Foundation.