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Are you planning on being in Denver over the Labor Day Weekend? If so, be sure to stop by the Denver Art Museum and check out the exhibit: ‘Open for Design: A DAM Community Challenge’ exhibit. Why? Because folks from Leadville have a submission on display!
Earlier in the summer, the museum published a state-wide design challenge and call for entries, with all submissions accepted to be displayed in one unique show from August 4th through September 2nd. Their challenge: for any individual or group in Colorado, of any age or skill level, to transform an everyday object or material into something that makes their community a better place, all to be shown in the museum’s largest contemporary exhibit space.
The concept of opening the museum for an exhibition of ‘art by the people’ was a stretch for an institution known for the quality of its exhibits. It appears this was a risk worth taking, as people responded enthusiastically to the call and the ‘Open for Design’ exhibition opened with nearly 100 submissions, including one from Leadville.
Local resident Dave Eason, who spent the summer building the ‘ChickenHillCommunityGarden’ at 101 Toledo, saw the call for submissions and showed it to local artists involved with this garden project. That was one week before the July 29th deadline set by the museum.
ReVision Studio, a collaborative art lab here in town, met the urgency of the timing by opening its doors to Dave and other gardening enthusiasts, who built, in one long overnight session, a model of the ‘Hose Wattle Composter’- a round structure set up in September of 2010 from over 70 salvaged water hoses. The purpose in building the hose wattle was to create a central location for neighborhood composting in anticipation of a future community garden.
Dave’s team produced a quality model showing the Carbonate Hill neighborhood at the turn of the century, a scaled version of the Hose Wattle Composter and photos of the compost it produced. They arrived in Denver at DAM just ten minutes before the cut off time, and it is now centrally featured in the exhibit.
The call for submissions by the DenverArt Museum for this exhibit was nicely timed. It provided people involved with the Chicken Hill Community Garden an opportunity to showcase a local composting experiment to a broader audience. The DAM challenge was in the exact spirit in which the message of the Hose Wattle Composter was intended to convey: that it is possible to reuse perfectly good material (in this case, garden hoses) in a new way, to extend the life of those objects in the form of a structure used to transform kitchen scraps into nutrient rich compost for the benefit of those gardening at The Chicken Hill Community Garden.
The Chicken Hill Community Garden is now built. Ten of the fifteen beds constructed this summer are planted and thriving. The inspiration for this project started with a basic question: is it possible to locally create enough compost to provide for the needs of a productive, densely planted arrangement of garden beds that would actually produce quality food at this location on Chicken Hill?
The answer so far is ‘Yes’. Stop by the garden at 101 Toledo before the first nips of frost arrive and definitely check out the DenverArt Museum this weekend. The exhibit wraps up this Sunday, September 2.
Congratulations to the Chicken Hill Community Garden Project! Thanks for representing Leadville so well. Happy Harvest!