This blog post was updated on September 6, 2018.
Growing up in Denver, you forget that a giant blue bear in the middle of downtown or an angry looking beast of a horse greeting you at the airport is not all that normal for a city.
Denver doesn’t receive the artistic credit that some other cities do, but its strange sculptures scattered about town easily should make it a contending showpiece.
Just as the Rocky Mountains are monstrous, lording over Colorado’s capital, so too are the sculptures strewn about the city. All are unique and definitely worth a visit on your next Denver daytrip.
Mesteño (Denver International Airport)—If you arrive to Denver International Airport, this menacing sculpture will surely greet you.
Installed in 2008, the 32 foot blue stallion greets travelers arriving on flights to Denver with eyes you imagine only in the fires of hell.
Whether he spooks you before or after your flight, it doesn’t really matter. The horse cast in fiberglass weighs 9,000 pounds.
In between the inbound and outbound lanes of Peña Boulevard, Mesteño was the work of New Mexico artist Luis Jiménez.
Sadly, the artist was killed by his own creation when one of the stallion’s legs fell on him while working on the art piece.
Dancers (Sculpture Park)—In between Speer Boulevard and the Performing Arts Complex in downtown Denver, an enormous (and enourmously joyous) couple glides gracefully to the music of traffic.
Set in Sculpture Park right next to the Denver Convention Center, Dancers is the ambitious work of Jonathan Borofsky.
With giant white limbs that seem to stretch a mile high, the dancing duo appears utterly random, but its positioning is actually quite calculated.
The work is supposed to symbolize Denver’s attempts to be the culture capital of the West.
Yearling (Denver Public Library)—Designed by Donald Lipski, the Yearling sculpture was actually never intended for Denver. A school in Manhattan had first dibs, but didn’t appreciate the horse.
Artistic differences pushed the piece into Central Park before it was relocated to right outside the Denver Public Library in 1998. Known more as the Horse of the Chair, the giant red chair measures 21 feet high. Its occupant, a pony, sits at 6 feet tall.
The meaning behind the artist’s work intended to highlight a time of childish innocence when the size of everyday objects was colossal.
I See What You Mean (Denver Convention Center)—While in Denver, you might not think you have seen the I See What You Mean sculpture, but you probably have. Known as the Big Blue Bear peering into the Denver Convention Center, the sculpture stands at 40 feet tall.
Local artist Laurence Argent wanted the work to bring more whimsy and fun to conventions and business meetings. Rather than selecting trite images of Colorado, Argent was inspired by a bear.
Installed in 2005, the giant beast is blue, but by accident. The sculpture was never supposed to be blue, but after a miscue, the artist kept it because he found it more exciting. As Argent has said, “To me, it’s kind of like the bear needs the building and the building needs the bear.”
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Flickr images courtesy of bonjorpeewee.
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