Aurora soliciting bids for art installation at planned Central Recreation Center

December 14, 2016 GMT

AURORA | The city of Aurora’s art in public places commission is offering $400,000 to a yet-to-be-determined artist to design and create an art installation for the forthcoming Central Recreation Center at South Telluride Street and East Vassar Place.

Roberta Bloom, public art coordinator for the city, said the lofty commission is one of the larger sums Aurora has offered to artists.

“It is significantly bigger,” Bloom said. “In the past, the city seems to have focused a lot on individual sculptures that are situated in front of buildings.”

This public art project, however, could be more integrated into the structure of the new recreation center near Vassar Elementary School, according to Bloom. She said getting an artist or artistic team involved in the design of the facility — which is expected to begin construction next summer and open in the fall of 2018 —provides the chance to create more of blended creative display.

“When you get somebody involved this early, you’re able to take advantage of opportunities that don’t exist later,” Bloom said. “There could be exterior architectural elements, interior architectural elements — lots of different possibilities.”

The city is seeking “art work that encourages patrons to leave their busy lives at the door to transition to a focus on their health and wellness,” according to the official call for entries.

The 55,000-square foot Central Recreation Center will be the first of its kind built in Aurora in several decades. The facility will feature an aquatics center, elevated track, multiple fitness studios and short-term childcare facilities, among other amenities, according to the city’s call for entries.

With a cost of about $30 million, the project is expected to be funded by marijuana tax revenues. City officials have tentatively earmarked $2 million annually in pot taxes for the next 25 years to pay off a bond to construct the new facility.

City Council approval is required for art projects that top $50,000 and a city ordinance requires that 1 percent of the total budget in city construction projects that exceed $100,000 be used for public art. The public art commission will be funded by the “1 percent” ordinance, not marijuana revenues.

Plans for the new facility are expected to go to city council in January, according to Sherri-Jo Stowell, marketing specialist for the city. After multiple public meetings in the fall, plans for the new recreation center will also be heard Dec. 14 at a public hearing at the Aurora Municipal Center.

The application deadline for the Central Rec Center art project is 11:59 p.m. Jan. 8. The final installation is slated to feature a maximum of 10 pieces of media — which can be a combination of images and audio and video clips — and a minimum of eight pieces, according to the call for entries.

An art selection panel comprised of members of the Art in Public Places Commission, artists, the project manager, the facility’s architect and other city officials, will select the winning applicant.