Printmaker redefines public art in Denver

Posted on Jun 7, 2013 in Alumni News and News

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Denver printmaking artist Michael Chavez, g’02, has spent most of his adult life working in art museums. Now he’s stepping out, way out, and redefining “public art” as the public art program manager for Arts and Venues Denver. Chavez is overseeing every piece of public art in the county of Denver: sculptures in city buildings, interactive digital art and even live performance pieces. “We’re a city agency and the collection technically belongs to the citizens of Denver, so I want there to be this feeling that it belongs to them,” Chavez says.

For each project, Chavez assembles a panel of community members and civic leaders to select the art. The panel issues an open call for artists, who then submit previous work for review. Chavez drives the selection process and advises the panel. Chavez also directs maintenance of existing works, many of which are out in the elements and more than 60 years old. He creates plans to repaint, repair or refurbish any art that needs attention.

Whether he’s helping select new commissions, taking care of old ones or orchestrating unusual outreach events, Chavez already has made a niche for himself in Denver’s art scene. “I hope that what I do brings an overall sense of pride in Denver–that the community knows their city values creativity and art and culture.”

–Adapted from story in Kansas Alumni magazine, No. 6, 2012, written by Lydia Benda

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