By Nancy Hahn
What is four and a half miles long, lined with art and sidewalk murals, and coming to Lakewood in mid-2018? The 40 West ArtLine!
The ArtLine will provide a walking and biking experience with art to enjoy, activities to try, and will connect the 40 West Art District and three Lakewood parks. Aviation Park at 1900 Teller St., Mountair Park at 5620 W. 14th Ave., and Walker-Branch Park at 5825 W. 16th Ave., will each be part of the ArtLine.
An Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts is making the creation of the ArtLine possible. This grant program supports projects that integrate arts and culture into communities and create a distinct sense of place. The 40 West Art District is certainly a recognizable destination for exploring a variety of arts, but it is a narrow slice of Lakewood. The ArtLine will spread a variety of art to actively enjoy throughout Lakewood.
The City of Lakewood Traffic Department painted a green line that connects the three parks and identifies the walking and biking route. Volunteers have painted ground murals at two intersections along the route. Mountair Park was used to try out the paints and designs to be used. A hopscotch mural designed by James Overstreet, 40 West Artist-in-Residence, was painted at Mountair Park Community Farm. Mountair Park, also, has interactive art and murals. Both will be part of the ArtLine, but much more will be added to Mountair before mid-2018.
Muralist Carlos Fresquez and community volunteers will add ground murals at several Lakewood intersections along the ArtLine. Murals, as well as freestanding art, will be featured along the route. Each of the three parks will have one large art installation. The theme chosen for the installations was dinosaurs. But the art installations will be ‘inspired’ by dinosaurs – they won’t be dinosaur sculptures. The ideas already approved are each completely unique, entirely fun, and absolutely art. For example, Aviation Park will have what appears to be a buried dinosaur with only his rows of huge upright spines sticking out of the hill.
The final design and choices made for the ArtLine are thanks to a large group of volunteers and community members. This group attended meetings, discussed, and collaborated in the planning and ideas for the ArtLine. All agreed that the Art District is an asset to the community and a destination that visitors enjoy exploring. The group walked the entire route and decided that while 4 1/2 miles is a long way for some walkers, benches will be added along the route. The painted green ArtLine just invites you to follow and will spread the enjoyment of art throughout Lakewood.