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What’s public art like in Fort Collins vs. Boulder?

Artist+Tyler+Boeyinks+mural+Winnies+Paradise+colors+a+wall+near+Downtown+Ace+Hardware+in+Old+Town+Fort+Collins+Sept.+11.+Boeyink+completed+another%0Amural+in+fall+2022+for+the+annual+Fort+Collins+Mural+Project.
Collegian | Samantha Nordstrom | Collegian
Artist Tyler Boeyink’s mural “Winnie’s Paradise” colors a wall near Downtown Ace Hardware in Old Town Fort Collins Sept. 11. Boeyink completed another mural in fall 2022 for the annual Fort Collins Mural Project.

When visiting a town, there are many factors that contribute to how enjoyable the experience will be. Oftentimes, the focus is on the restaurants, bars or shops. Public art can be an overlooked factor in determining the appeal of a town.

Both Fort Collins and Boulder, Colorado, offer a variety of mediums and experiences to please the public eye.

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A prime example of Fort Collins’ passion for public art is their Downtown Fort Collins First Friday Art Walk. This is a collaborative effort between different stores, galleries, museums and artists to host a self-guided tour through the city.

This art walk is incredibly beneficial to local artists as well as the participating local businesses. It encourages the Fort Collins community to enter new stores and find joy in the visual arts.

Another way Fort Collins makes their artwork so accessible is through the Art in Public Spaces program. Matthew Fredricey, a Fort Collins painter, shared why the program and its location are beneficial.

“Fort Collins is a good art-focus town,” Fredricey said. “I would much rather do any event in Fort Collins rather than Denver or a big city. Just because I am not really a big city person, I can meet a lot of students, a lot of families, people of all ages. I think Fort Collins is definitely a good place to share my art with a wide variety of people.”

Fort Collins successfully pushes local artists to display their artwork, which helps connect the community to their artists, often inspiring networking and collaboration.

Boulder’s Pearl Street has taken a different approach to public art, leaning more into murals and integrating art into the infrastructure.

Austin Zucchini-Fowler, a Boulder muralist, shared his experience transforming an alleyway in Boulder.

“I guess that alley was pretty run-down,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “It didn’t have very good lighting, (and) the ground was kind of a mess, so before I got there, they re-cemented the ground, (and) they put in some lighting.”

He explained that the alley was previously known as “Crack Alley,” and he received lots of positive feedback after completing the renovation.

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“People really want to walk through and feel safe walking through,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “It turned into a really cool experience.”

Zucchini-Fowler added that it does not only foster safety but can also spark joy and happiness and bring color into someone’s life.

“It can really renovate spaces, so especially if there are areas or walls that are run-down, I think public work can come in and renovate the area and bring in a new positive vibe to the space,” Zucchini-Fowler said.

The main difference between the two art communities is the mediums in which they choose to present their work. Both cities have distinct styles that do a great job of making the community a more aesthetic and, in some cases, safer space.

Fort Collins has more of an interactive scene with events available for citizens to participate in, while Boulder tends to showcase bigger pieces for the enjoyment of passersby.

Reach Jack Fillweber at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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