Congratulations to Michael Brohman of Denver for "Earth Mover", which won first place in this year's Art on the Streets. Brohman was awarded $15,000 through the Downtown Partnership.
Second place went to Chris Weed's "Spores" and third to John King's "Silver Snapdragon." Juror Jan Schall of Kansas City chose these winners. But really?
I like "Earth Mover" alright, but I it doesn't hit its mark outdoors. It looks like everything else, the manholes, the steel grates on the sidewalks. Set it in a controlled gallery space with white walls and neutral flooring — as in this picture — and it emotes a more interesting vibe. One of moodiness, minimalism, materialism.
But it's parked on the busy, hot corner of Colorado and Nevada avenues, acting as just another metal thing in a city stuck behind a traffic cone. In comparison to the other sculptures in the ring, this choice just seems perverse.
My winners, based on how they function in a public, downtown environment (the key criteria for this contest, if you ask me) would go to "The Dancing Dawn" by Jeremy Cooper or "Archangel" by Alfonso Arambula Robles. Amid the milieu of the urban outdoors, these works viably compete for your attention with strong lines and colors, buoyancy in the place of meditation. "Dancing Dawn" and "Archangel" are key examples of how outdoor, public art can be effectively engaging without being obnoxious.