Capturing the essence of the Bluebird District

Father, daughter team up for student art project along Colfax

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Haikus are just fun.

Even more so because “anyone can write them,” said Camille Davis, 17.

Now a junior at East High School, Davis has been writing haikus since the fifth grade.

And as a solution to garner more interest in public art and engage youth in their community, Davis teamed up with her father Greg to implement Bluebird Haiku — a large public art piece along Colfax Avenue beginning near East High School and ending near the Bluebird Theater.

“It’s really exciting, having been conceptualizing this project for so long,” Camille Davis said, “and now seeing it come to life.”

The Bluebird Haiku public art piece will stretch roughly 400 feet along the sidewalk on the north side of Colfax. It will consist of 20 haikus accompanied by a repeating pattern of three bluebirds flying east. The color scheme will be blue, white and black.

Haiku submissions will be accepted until March 21. Anybody in the community is welcome to submit a haiku, but all submissions should describe, illustrate, characterize and/or portray the essence or history of the Bluebird District.

The Bluebird Business Improvement District consists of nine blocks along Colfax Avenue between Colorado Boulevard and St. Paul Street.

Though that stretch of Colfax has a rich history dating back to at least the mid-1800s, the Bluebird Business Improvement District formed as a taxing district in 2013, said Anne Kuechenmeister, the BID’s executive director.

Results of a 2016 survey revealed that “being a pedestrian on Colfax was a top concern,” Kuechenmeister said. And since, the district has been working toward implementing a variety of projects that will improve the pedestrian experience.

The Bluebird Haiku project is just one of them, Kuechenmeister said. Though it’s a significant one, she added, in the sense that the public art will form a connection between East High School students, residents, businesses and visitors.

“I’m hoping to see all the different ways people have connected with the Bluebird District through the years,” Kuechenmeister said. Plus, she added, “a haiku is just the right amount of reading if you’re walking.”

Bluebird Haiku is being funded in part by a Denver Arts & Venues grant called P.S. You Are Here. The Bluebird Business Improvement District sponsored the father-and-daughter team for the grant.

A team of East High Schoolers will select the haikus for the art installation. Greg and Camille Davis are working with Denver-based Like Minded Productions for the large-sized laser stencils to be used for the project. East High School students will also be doing the painting, which Greg Davis estimates will take place late August.

“There’s so much talent and artistic ability in high schoolers,” Greg Davis said. “Hopefully by them being involved, it will show them how accessible public art can be.”

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