Art Around Town

First, a quick bit of background:  Longmont is growing as a destination for artists to hone their crafts.  It’s become so big in creative circles and known for the variety of art around that Longmont’s downtown area was recently certified as a Colorado Creative District!  Getting that designation was a long time coming and it was a big deal when they finally landed it since it made Longmont the 12th official certified Creative District in Colorado!

Back in the day, I thought having the art around town was just a nice touch.  Something to make things pretty or cute as you’re walking around town.  Over the years, as pieces on public display have changed, it’s been fun to see some really cool works go on display – especially when they’re works I know I could never conceive myself.  It’s taught me a new appreciation for different forms of art I may not have noticed or been interested in before.

While shooting the “Play the Plaza” installation the other week, I did catch what I think is a new piece on display in the area around the St. Vrain Historical Society headquarters.  It was a tall and fairly slender white stone sculpture called “Protection” by Jade Windell.  The structure and curves in it reminded me a lot of the First Nation totem poles we saw during our trip to Vancouver last year.

Luckily for me, the light was hitting it in such a way I thought I could make a couple of dramatic black & white shots of sections of the sculpture:

I think I need to go back and really fiddle with some shots with this sculpture on a bright & shiny day to get sharper shadow lines that could create some extra drama.  Considering my goal was merely testing out my camera on whatever was around town that afternoon, not bad for a quick snag of a few shots.

My test shots weren’t done just yet though.  As we were almost back at the car and ready to head home, we walked through one of the cute alley ways and passed benches covered with mosaic tile that we’ve probably passed hundreds of times before.  But on this day, my eyes were a little more attuned to what was around me.

I noticed that the one of the benches was sponsored by the computer hardware & storage company Seagate.  (Seagate is one of the larger employers in town.)  Being that my schooling was focused on computer engineering back in the day, the first thing I noticed was the binary numbers incorporated along the edge of the mosaic.  Very cool!

Binary Bench Mosaic
Binary Bench Mosaic

My binary-to-decimal conversion skills aren’t nearly as sharp as they were – gasp! – 20 years ago when I started college, but I did take a shot at converting the numbers to decimal.  Best I can tell, the numbers on the left (from top to bottom) are 4, 6, 1, 5, 1.  The numbers on the right (top to bottom) are 6 and 5.

Not sure what – if any – significance there is to those numbers.  Of course, I’m assuming the breaks in the tile are also breaks in the binary strings and that I should read the numbers top-to-bottom.  Maybe they’re really huge numbers (9897 on the left, 53 on the right)?  Maybe I’m reading them backwards and should be reading bottom-up?  See what kind of questions art can provoke even in the most techno-centric minds?!

Maybe one of these days I’ll get an answer to my binary inquires.  For now, I’ll just continue to enjoy the different art pieces as they pop-up throughout the town we’re fortunate enough to call home.

 

– JC

Playing the Plaza

I just need to say this straight out at the start – I love the town we live in!  When we landed in Colorado nearly 3 years ago, I had no idea we’d end up in a place we’re really proud to call home.

We live in a little town called Longmont about a 45 minute drive northwest of Denver and less than an hour’s drive from Rocky Mountain National Park.  We picked this town mainly because of proximity to job markets and RMNP.  Little did we know that the first day we walked through downtown we’d fall in love with it instantly and made it our goal to call this town home.  My husband hadn’t been through the town in 15 years and it grew up – a lot – since then and they’re still doing so many cool and smart things in the town and the community that we just feel so fortunate to be part it.  (Oh – and beer… so much good beer in this town!!)

Last weekend, we popped downtown for a spot of lunch (including yummy beers, of course) and I brought the new camera with me for test shots because I knew there were some lively colorful things downtown that I’d been wanting to get shots of – perfect test subjects for the new sensor and exposure meter I’m getting used to.

This summer, the public art installation around downtown is called “Play the Plaza“.  They’ve taken different childhood games and set them up so they’re larger than life in the alleys and parklets throughout downtown.  Seems like every corner you turn, there’s something to play with or something insanely colorful and fun waiting for you.  Yay interactive art for all ages!!  (Isn’t there a kids’ game with the label of “fun for ages 9 to 99”?  Which game it is eludes me at the moment, but that label certainly applies to “Play the Plaza”.)

Play the Plaza
Play the Plaza

I started with “Candy Lane” – the take-off on “Candy Land”.  I spent most of my time here probably because it was the biggest and most colorful installation.  The setup has spinners every few spaces and people move themselves down the painted sidewalk as the pieces through the different lands to the end of the game about 50-100 feet down the way, curling around the old church that houses the St. Vrain Historical Society.

As we wandered down “Candy Lane”, we noticed they temporarily converted the permanent tables and chairs installed in the parklet to games too – complete with bags attached to each table that hold the game pieces to use on the game boards.

One of the last shots I took near the end of “Candy Lane” was a classic – Tic-Tac-Toe.  The eternal child in me loved spinning the pieces around like a spaz while the adult in me loved the simple industrial elegance of how it was constructed.

Tic-Tac-Toe
Tic-Tac-Toe

Definitely not a bad way to spend some time for a Saturday afternoon.  If you’re located near Longmont, I highly recommend stopping by and checking it all out before it’s gone!

At the risk of being a little cliche, Longmont is our Home Sweet Home…

Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home

– JC