SANTA FE, NM – May 1, 2023 – Contemporary art gallery Kouri + Corrao is pleased to announce that Denver, Colorado’s Public Art Program has commissioned New Mexico-based artist Paula Castillo to create three original public artworks to be installed in the heart of Denver and the Golden Triangle Creative District. “I’m deeply honored to work with Denver Arts & Venues on this important project,” said Ms. Castillo. “The vision for these three pieces references how the nations that blanketed the North American southwest played an integral role in history’s most pivotal cultural transformation: the creation of a New World culture out of Indigenous peoples’ long encounters with European, African and Asian nations.”
“The City of Denver Public Art Program is pleased to be working with artist Paula Castillo on these three sculptures for the shared Denver Art Museum and Denver Central Library Campus,” said Brendan Picker, public art program administrator at Denver Arts & Venues.
The works as envisioned are beautiful and iconic and will help tell the rich cultural story of the Denver region. We are also excited to be working with both institutions to offer additional information on the vision and research conducted by Castillo. These artworks will be stellar additions to our public art collection and will be enjoyed by the public for years to come.
– Brendan Picker, public art program administrator at Denver Arts & Venues
Considered by many to be one of Denver’s most important public projects, Castillo’s final works will be sited at the Libeskind Hamilton Museum, the Ponti Museum, and Denver’s Civic Center and will share space with monumental work by famed artists such as Beverly Pepper, Claes Oldenburg and Mark Di Suvero.Castillo is excited to partner with experts John Grant of Public Art Services, Structural Engineer Nick Guertz, and Elmendorf/Geurts Studio for this project.
Glyph, powder-coated stainless steel, 20 x 11 x 8 feet, image courtesy of the artist.
Castillo designed a bold beacon to set the stage for the Denver Art Museum’s North Building’s corner site on West 14th Ave & Bannock Street. Here she elevates a metamorphosis of a Meso-American motif in conversation with the reinvigorated Denver Art Museum and the Beaux-Arts narrative at Civic Center Park. Called “Glyph,” this pink beacon constructed out of stainless steel is inspired by the Meso-American Xicalcoliuhqui and the Greek-key glyphs. Conceptually, Castillo’s creative variation of Xicalcoliuhqui is situated face-to-face with the community-oriented neoclassical Civic Park and creates a perfect opportunity to rethink what it means to belong and to be a healthy American community in the 21st century.
Equis, powder-coated stainless steel and dichroic glass, 12 x 12 x 9 feet, image courtesy of the artist.
Facing the Colorado State Capitol at Denver Central Public Library on Broadway, Castillo has designed a beacon that communicates the Indigenous American intersection with the 16th century Columbian exchange. Here, “Equis,” or X, references the Uto-Aztecan language and fittingly means all are equal in Spanish. Constructed out of colored transparent glass, “Equis” will be lit at night to mark one of Denver’s most community-oriented civic sites: Denver Central Public Library.
Trestle, stainless steel, 77 x 22 x 17 feet, image courtesy of the artist.
At the plinth at 12th and Acoma facing the prominent Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building, Castillo designed a truss-like gateway to illustrate how global actions build community and intertwine us. Ms. Castillo uses a railroad bridge as a metaphor to remind the viewer that the railroads transformed Denver from a small town to a large and vibrant city. Thousands of hummingbird feathers fabricated out of stainless steel will be welded to the hummingbird-inspired trusses to reference the psychic link between the arc of Mexican labor and immigration on the railroads and the story of Denver’s emergence as one of our great American cities. The hummingbird-inspired vision connects the last piece of the story with the first through an indigenous reference to the hummingbird—revered as a healer and associated with critical community-building traits like harmony, persistence and integrity.