Originally published for The Brighton Standard Blade in Brighton, CO.
At Commerce City’s new recreation center, the art installations are as playful as the complex itself.
The new, 108,000-square-foot Bison Ridge Recreation Center recently opened to the public at 13905 E. 112th Ave. in Commerce City.
Twelve-foot-tall bison and kids on bicycles popping wheelies rest alongside the state-of-the-art trampoline and a pool.
Not in a literal sense, but in an artful one.
Though Commerce City residents marvel at the new facilities, the art installations are just as special to the community. The new pieces are considered Commerce City’s “most extensive sculpture collection.”
Three bison sculptures stand outside the building, two sculptures of kids on bicycles pulling boats grace the roundabout, and other interactive sculptures are dotted throughout the facility. Boulder-based artist Joshua Wiener, who worked on the roundabout sculptures, spent six months on his project.
After responding to city’s open call for art pieces, Wiener was selected with Santa Fe-based artist Don Kennell and Lyons-based artist John King. After being selected, Wiener spent three weeks designing what eventually resulted in two sculptures: a child on a bike pulling a boat containing a rain cloud and a child on a bike pulling a boat containing a tree.
Wiener said he wanted to incorporate requests from the community into his own ideas for a project.
The recreation center is space where, “we’ll find balance in our environment,” said Wiener. Fellowship and play are necessary to a way of life, he thinks. Similarly, the sculptures depict natural elements of necessity, such as trees and the rain, being carried forward in a playful way.
Wiener said the sculptures act as reminders for society to care for the environment. The children demonstrate a sensitivity to “the forces of nature,” he said.
“I think it alludes to bigger concepts, but in a warm and approachable way,” Wiener added.
The installations were funded in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, a special taxing district across the metro area. Money also came from the “1 percent city public art program,” which is when 1 percent of costs for capital improvement programs in Commerce City that cost more than $50,000 goes to public art.