GUEST COLUMN: Synergy of art, nature builds community | Opinion

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All over the world we are seeing more and more art being used in public parks to create a strong sense of belonging and connection.

According to The Trust for Public Land, “Research shows that parks promote public health and revitalize local economies, they connect people to the great outdoors and to each other.”

Individualizing parks through the use of public art can create a site that is meaningful, relevant and personal to the user as well as connect the site to the community at large.

On the outside, art creates conversation and community, cultivating a relationship with the place that not only evokes personal association, but can also lead to site stewardship.

We know that connecting to a place means forming an emotional and imaginative attachment to the environment. Successful public art projects in parks set the stage for a personal connection.

Since October is Arts Month, I thought it would be a great time to celebrate the synergy between art and nature.

I have been involved in the creation of Panorama Park in Southeast Colorado Springs since its inception, first as a resident, then as an artist and community advocate, and now as an expert Community Outreach Resident (CORE) for the Trust for Public Land, championing the relationship between the great outdoors and artistic expression through community collaboration.

We know that successful artistic endeavors paired with an outdoor engagement are not as simple as placing a sculpture on a meadow. It’s about designing a piece that speaks specifically of the respective site, its audience and environmental conditions, and its history.

While a common perspective of the outdoors includes endless hiking trails, rippling rivers, single-track loops, and campsites, for many in the Southeast the outdoors means our backyards, our dining tables. picnic and our outdoor barbecues that provide respite from the inside. We don’t have the amenities available to many.

Panorama Park will be our oasis.

In partnership with the Sand Creek branch of the Pikes Peak Library District, we are creating a tile art mosaic for the park, which includes over 7,000 individually hand-painted tiles that include images and messages from southern residents. east, community partners and the city in general. We are over 50% of our target.

Tile designers include community leaders, teachers, students, and residents who have been reached through partnerships with the city, nonprofits, schools, and local events.

The double-panel mosaic tells a story, celebrating the hopes and aspirations of our community and forms images that speak of who we are, all in a park, which for many is within a 10-minute walk of their homes .

The public artwork allows us to put our fingerprint on the park, personalize the open space and create a welcome mat for all who visit it. The art installation gives neighbors ‘ownership’ of the area and provides a sense of belonging.

Just like the Mosaic, an army of organizations across the city spearheaded the creation of Panorama Park and together we have created something beautiful.

Panorama Park exists through the tireless efforts of the Trust for Public Land, the City of Colorado Springs, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture, the Pikes Peak Library District, RISE Southeast and the RISE Youth Advisory Council. .

Organizations like Trails and Open Spaces Coalition, Catamount Institute, Generation Wild and The North Face have come together to join the collaborative effort.

The following financial partners, in no particular order, believed enough in Panorama Park to invest: Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado Springs Health Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Pikes Peak Community Foundation, Gazette Charities, and Anschutz Foundation, HA and Mary K Chapman Charitable Trust, Gates Family Foundation, J. Henry Edmondson Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Transforming Safety Colorado, and The Trust for Public Land.

Finally, the Southeastern community, a mosaic of races, genders and ethnicities, has joined forces to build a meaningful space that celebrates health, well-being, activity, exercise and fitness. commitment.

This is what happens when the public, private and philanthropic sectors work together, unleashing a sea of ​​energy that makes this project, outward and creative, unstoppable. The community-led efforts that pioneered the Panorama Park renovation will set the standard for collaboration nationwide.

And, because of public art, the Southeastern community will be putting their signature on the open space, celebrating the areas personality and spirit, personality and inspiration, continuing to perpetuate the recurring community theme of ” come into our power “and” share our light. “

Art has given Panorama Park a voice, leaving a lasting impression on residents and visitors.

Jeresneyka “Rizzo” Rose is a member of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) with The Trust for Public Land. She has lived in Southeast Colorado Springs for almost two decades and has worked as an artist and community advocate for the past seven years.


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