Coming Attractions

Thornton aims to become public art hot spot

Recommended activities for the coming weeks


One of the great things about public art is that it serves so many purposes — just as easily as it adds beauty to a community, it can also become a landmark, a location for people to orient their lives around. And Thornton’s latest public art piece aims to become a waypoint for both residents and travelers alike due to both its size and location.

Portland, Oregon, artist Volkan Alkanoglu has created a 34-foot-tall contemporary art sculpture for the city and when it is installed this fall, it will be the largest 3-D printed sculpture of its kind in the United States and the second largest in the world, according to provided information. Its home will be on the median at East 136th Avenue between I-25 and Lincoln Street.

“Thornton is really interested in becoming a beacon for more contemporary public art and a place that adds art that is a little less traditional,” said Hannah Leathers, Thornton public art coordinator. “This work has bright colors and a very futuristic look. It has a technological and scientific look, but is also beautiful in the way it mimics the Rocky Mountain sunset.”

As Alisa Zimmerman, Thornton’s Arts and Culture manager, explained, Alkanoglu’s work was approved by the city council and recommended by Thornton Arts, Sciences and Humanities Council (TASHCO) Public Art Subcommittee. The process began in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project.

“There were no size or dimension limitations to the call for artists,” she added. “This is our biggest budgeted piece and I think the fact that we supported thinking big about the work brought in a lot of submissions.”

Alkanoglu has worked in the state before and the way he embraces STEM principles in his creations made it uniquely appealing, as did the fact that it’s made of carbon fiber, which should withstand all the Colorado climate can throw at it.

“When I proposed this sculpture for Thornton, I wanted to design something that would complement the extraordinary backdrop of the Colorado sky and Rocky Mountains complete with its purples, blues and warm colors,” he said in a provided statement. “The site was chosen as a gateway for Thornton with the sculpture signaling a city on the move.”

The work’s location on one of the state’s major highways will not only provide plenty of eyes, but also an opportunity for those doing something as routine as driving to or from work the opportunity to be transported by the power of art.

“It’s a gift to take something different and futuristic and put it where people can see it. It can be a shock visually, but over time it can define a place and give residents a sense of pride,” Leathers said. “These kinds of pieces start out as landmarks, but become what a place is known for.”

Stay current on Thornton’s public art efforts by visiting


Discover the creative Modus Operandi at Walker Fine Art

The creative process is a unique and mysterious process — one that defies easy explanation and rationalization, even by those who have been artists their whole lives. But the artists in Walker Fine Arts latest show, Modus Operandi, explore this process and their own artistic language. It’s on display through Saturday, Sept. 10. The gallery is located in suite A at 300 W. 11th Ave. in Denver.

The group exhibition features Laura Guese, Deidre Adams, Blair Vaughn-Gruler, Ben Strawn, Melanie Grein and Melana Bontrager. For more information and to see the virtual gallery, visit


Meet the heroine of the Titanic

You’ve cried along to the movie, so why not meet one of the real-life people who survived the sinking of the Titanic at the new Molly Brown House Museum exhibit, Heroine of the Titanic.

The display runs at the museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St. in Denver, through Sunday, Sept. 25, and marks 110 years since the loss of the vessel. Visitors will peruse rare Titanic artifacts and never-before-seen family documents. Learn more about the exhibit at


Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Blue Water Road Trip at the Fillmore Auditorium

Oakland, California’s Kehlani makes R&B music in the vein of some of the classics — performers like Aaliyah and Janet Jackson. She can be sultry, playful and searching in equal measure — sometimes on the same track.


In support of this year’s “Blue Water Road,” Kehlani is bringing the Blue Water Road Trip tour to the Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St. in Denver, at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6. She’ll be joined by Destin Conrad and Rico Nasty, a rapper on her own hot streak.

Get tickets for the show at


Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at

Clarke Reader, Coming Attractions, Thornton, art, arts, public art, Volkan Alkanoglu, Hannah Leathers, Alisa Zimmerman, Thornton Arts Sciences and Humanities Council, TASHCO, STEM, sculpture, Walker Fine Art, Modus Operandi, Laura Guese, Deidre Adams, Blair Vaughn-Gruler, Ben Strawn, Melanie Grein, Melana Bontrager, history, Titanic, Molly Brown, Molly Brown House Museum, Heroine of the Titanic, music, live music, concerts, Kehlani, Fillmore Auditorium, Destin Conrad, Rico Nasty


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