City hires artist David Garcia to make National Western Center bridges look pretty, cool

He gets $1.5 million to get the job done.

"El Viaje/The Journey" by David Ocelotl Garcia, which adorns the inside of Plaza de la Raza at Columbus Park, otherwise known as La Raza Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

"El Viaje/The Journey" by David Ocelotl Garcia, which adorns the inside of Plaza de la Raza at Columbus Park, otherwise known as La Raza Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photos

When the National Western Center campus is finished, two bridges will don the creations of Denver-born artist David Garcia.

The Denver City Council on Monday OK’d a contract with Garcia to spice up the National Western Center, which doesn’t yet exist. Eventually, the campus in Elyria-Swansea will host the National Western Stock Show two weeks out of the year and is supposed to become a new district of agricultural innovation and entertainment.

Garcia will outfit two bridges — one on Bettie Cram Drive and one on 51st Avenue — with concrete sculptures, mosaic tiles and bronze, according to the contract.

“The project will lead viewers along the bridges and create an artistic connection between the National Western Center and the neighborhoods across the South Platte River,” the contract states.

Denver will pay Garcia $1.5 million. No, he doesn’t get to pocket it all. It will go toward materials, construction, documentation and other stuff, including art workshops for the public.

Garcia’s footprint is all over the city, state, and country, including at La Raza/Columbus Park in Sunnyside.

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