Art Trees Grow in the Creative District

Greeley’s Uptown Tree project is off to a great start–the city will dedicate the first 10 trees Nov. 15th at 10am by the Showcase Art Center on the corner of 8th Avenue and 14th Street. These trees aren’t planted. They’re created by local artists. Most of the artists will be there to show off their works and talk about their ideas. Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.24.57 PM

Kim Synder, the city’s public art coordinator, got the idea from a San Diego conference that highlighted the city’s similar “urban” trees. She put out a call to artists and got 20 proposals. They accepted 10 of them. The artists got $10,000 a piece, and the project was funded by the city’s One Percent for Art Program.

That may seem like a good chunk of change, and it is, but many of the artists spent months, and a sizable portion of their commission, on their trees, Snyder said. Pete Niehoff, a Greeley artist who also works in the University of Northern Colorado’s art department, said his tree took him almost six months to build around his job. Niehoff is just starting to make a name for himself. He also shoots — he won the best black and white photo in the Tribune’s 2013 “Click” contest — and paints.

His tree was inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” and Niehoff acknowledges the nod to the children’s classic by calling his tree “awareness” to emphasize the book’s powerful environmental message.

The project is far from over. Snyder plans to add five trees next year as the city continues to remodel 8th Avenue. The number of trees depends on how far the city goes with 8th Avenue. She’ll install five trees per remodeled block, and the city has the money for one block next year. There could be as many as 30 in the next four years. All of them will be designed and installed by local and regional artists. Snyder will put out a notice in December…

from the Greeley Tribune  see more photos in the Tribune story

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