Enlivening North Boulder with an added emphasis on art

The marquee of the Holiday Twin Theater (1948 – 88), still stands at its second location on 28th Street and Lee Hill in North Boulder.

Community members invited to talk about public art

Creative leaders in North Boulder are developing a vision for public art installations to express the neighborhood’s emblematic appeal.

NoBo PLACE Project Public Input MeetingThey launch the process with your input.

“Meaningful urban art begins with ideas generated by the community,” says Annette Coleman, artist and board president of NoBo Art District, which is looking to enhance North Boulder’s public spaces through a new urban art project it calls PLACE (Placemaking by Art and Community).

In its first PLACE installation, NoBo will jury and commission Colorado artists to adorn the sidewalks between Rosewood and Yellow Pine on the east and west sides of North Broadway. The public is invited to share ideas about this installation and future ones at a PLACE event this Wednesday, March 26.

North Boulder is arguably the fastest growing and most exciting neighborhood in Boulder. The cultural community is the main reason why.  Since the 1990s, when artists began colonizing North Boulder’s underutilized industrial spaces, the arts have been central to the area. The neighborhood now supports a rich universe of artists’ studios, galleries, museums, and performing arts groups.

It is also the city’s most industrial corridor, with an abundance of warehouse structures interspersed with slick new urbanism. Adding artistic elements that gracefully meld those dissections is an important goal of the PLACE effort.

“North Boulder is a gateway to the city Boulder. People come in from the open space along Highway 36 and hit Broadway and boom, they are in a different environment,” Ms. Coleman says. “We want to hear from residents, workers and anyone who cares about North Boulder: What do you want to see here? What kinds of art will best tell our story?”

It’s often the authentic qualities of Boulder’s north side that draw people to its foothill-bordering neighborhoods. Urban installations can aptly express those qualities as artists take to the streets, parks and billboards. But as Ms. Coleman explains, the NoBo Art District is looking to do something more progressive through PLACE.

“We envision art with a measure of impermanence,” Ms. Coleman says. “We don’t just want to plunk down a sculpture and call it good. We want to be true to the roots of the neighborhood. The idea is for designs to erode over time and fade into the background as other placemaking projects come to the fore.”

Loper (Carpet) by Alphons ter Avest, Netherlands

Loper (Carpet) by Alphons ter Avest, Netherlands

As an intrinsic public space, sidewalks are a good place to begin.

The March 25 kickoff meeting promises a broader conversation about both NoBo’s public art program and the future of area’s thriving arts scene. The discussion will include an overview of the placemaking program and how it can enhance North Boulder’s identity. Bring your curiosity and conceptual notions.