Arts in Public Places adds 3 new exhibits to Fort Collins

Julia Trowbridge

The Art in Public Places program in Fort Collins works on making the city more and more beautiful, from making art out of transformer boxes to placing painted pianos about town through the Bohemian Foundation. Some of the most recent additions to the public art include “Current” and “Wave Walk” by Jill MacKay, and “Harvest Sky” by Tim Upham.

“The City recognizes that art is vitally important to the quality of life in the community,” wrote Liz Good, the visual arts assistant for the City of Fort Collins, in an email to the Collegian. “Art in Public Places is intended to encourage and enhance artistic expression and appreciation, and add value to the Fort Collins community through acquiring, exhibiting and maintaining public art.”

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Harvest Sky by Tim Upham, creates patterns of colored light onto the sidewalk below when light shines through. According to the artists description, ‘nature’s bounty creates a colorful sky of fruit and vegetables ripe and ready for harvest.’ (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

Upham has been involved in creating public art since 1994, a year before the Art in Public Places program was established. His artwork, titled “Harvest Sky,” is located in Twin Silo park near a previous piece he collaborated on, titled “Ringfall.”

“I like the sunlight going through (Harvest Sky),” Upham said. “The piece interacts with the sun, when you walk along the sidewalk, you get this stained glass look.”

The artwork is 60 feet long, four feet wide and three feet high. The circular glass is a half an inch thick, allowing it to withstand harsher weather conditions like hail.

mirror mosaic along side of bridge by the Cache La Poudre River
Current, by Jill MacKay, is a mirror mosaic near a path underneath E Mulberry St. According to the artist’s description, the Cache La Poudre River is the inspiration for this project. With the use of flowing mirror mosaic waveforms, the design mimics the reflective surface qualities of water and comes alive with movement. (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

Jill MacKay, an artist and jewelry maker in the Fort Collins area, has contributed to two pieces in the year of 2017, “Current” and “Wave Walk.” “Current” is a mirror mosaic piece that is placed on what used to be only a cement wall holding up the bridge. The mosaic now illuminates the path of cyclists and others who walk on the paved trail that goes underneath this bridge on E Mulberry St.

“In the spring when the river is high and you stand on the trail and look at this piece, you can see the river reflected in the mirror mosaic so the whole thing comes alive with movement,” MacKay said. “This piece is alive and different every hour of every day with the changing light and surroundings.”

The piece was made at MacKay’s studio, then transported to the location. The mosaic is surrounded by large halved river rock to create a flat back for adhesion. According to MacKay, the cyclists who rode along the path while the mosaic was being put together were cheering them on.

stones placed in the concreate in semi circle formations to look like waves on the sidewalk
Wave walk, by Jill MacKay, glows in the dark at night through a property called photo luminescence. According to the artist’s description, photo luminescent stones absorb solar rays in the day time, and glow at night. (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

“Wave Walk,” by MacKay, is also located in Twin Silo park by a bridge headed towards the park. The interesting aspect of this public art piece is it’s photo luminescent quality. Best viewed at night, the stones in the pavement glow blue to those walking on the bridge over the creek.

“MacKay worked with the Twin Silo Park Project Team to develop a concept for art at the site of this new park and its focus on the natural water feature of the creek,” Good said. “The mosaic highlights the creek play area by being located at either end of the bridge right near it. It also took advantage of a location in the park without a lot of night time lighting so that the photo-luminescent stones can be enjoyed.”

Collegian reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.