Public Art in Denver

April 19, 2016

By Michele Friedmann

Public art says a lot about the identity of a city. One of the first pieces of art to greet people flying into Denver is Blue Mustang, a 32-foot tall, fiberglass statue of a blue horse. The story of Blue Mustang is a tumultuous one – the artist Luis Jimenez was crushed by the horse during its construction and never saw his masterpiece completed.

The red-eyed statue, known as “Blucifer” to locals, continued to cause controversy at Denver International Airport (DIA). Some petitioned for the statue’s removal, arguing that the statue creates bad vibes. However, others feel the statue is an iconic symbol of Colorado.

When you arrive at the convention center, your eyes will automatically be drawn to the 40-foot blue bear peaking inside the windows as he towers next to the building. Artist Lawrence Argent wanted to create a piece that would enhance the uniqueness of the form and space of the building and also showcased the natural surroundings of Colorado.

With his artwork for the building, Argent wanted to focus on what it was like to be a Denver resident. While brainstorming for the project in 2005, bears were venturing into Denver, due to a drought in the surrounding the area. Argent saw a photo in a local newspaper of a black bear looking into someone’s window and the image stayed with him. He wanted the bear to have a similar texture to the toys his sons played with - this inspired the sculpture’s toy look.

The blue bear, officially titled I See What You Mean is now not only the iconic symbol of the Colorado Convention Center but also the city itself.

Another eccentric sculpture that’s hard to miss can be found in the Denver Theatre District in Sculpture Park. This well-known piece is called The Dancers and stands 60 feet high! It is a 25-ton steel and fiberglass sculpture. Mounted around the circular base of the sculpture are 5 speakers that continuously play the song “Let’s Dance” by Jonathan Borofsky and Samuel Conlogue. Borofsky seeks to highlight in his work that “everything is connected and all is one.”

Information on the I-Engage Talks is now up on NAFSA’s website – I highly encourage you to check them out. They are shaping up to be the best yet!


Michele Friedmann is the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications chair for the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo. Michele was born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. She attended Gettysburg College where her love for study abroad began. Michele spent a semester in Australia, circumnavigated the globe on Semester at Sea, and student taught in London. Michele earned a master’s degree from the School for International Training in the area of international education. She interned for Barcelona SAE as a program and student adviser. She has worked for the Institute of International Education and the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Michele is currently the student and program manager for Global Players, a study abroad program geared toward student athletes.


SHARE THIS POST