If you go

What: Session on Public Art and Community Engagement project

When: 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Boulder Public Library, 1001 Arapahoe Ave.

Cost: Free

More info: colorado.edu/cedar

The University of Colorado and the city of Boulder are working together on community projects, including in the University Hill neighborhood.

On Friday, community members are invited to the Boulder Public Library to learn about that work and a current project that will bring a work of public art to the neighborhood in the coming months. The project is part of a two-year effort to combine student and faculty work — through CU's Community Engagement, Design and Research Center — with community engagement for work on University Hill.

"This is part of a general effort to bring the capacities of the university to aid the city of Boulder and other communities in Colorado in a more focused way than we've done in past," said Brian Muller, the center's director and an associate professor in the environmental design program.


Hundreds of students have participated in a variety of work in the neighborhood over the last year and a half, he said. Their work included interviews and other outreach to gauge interest in public art and gather feedback about what it might be.

"We found that in all the different groups on the Hill that we could identify, from longtime residents to students across the span, there was a lot of interest in creating and thinking about community on the Hill," Muller said.

Students have compiled early concepts and identified possible locations for the work of public art, and they will seek community feedback Friday and in subsequent sessions before spending the semester and summer constructing the installation. In total, 12 environmental design students will work on the project.

"We're looking forward to a great community response," said Marcel de Lange, an assistant clinical professor who will oversee the students and their work in their course. "We have exciting examples we found we want to share with the public."

He described the project as a win-win because it gives students real-world experience and brings public art to the community in an affordable way.

Muller added it's part of his mission to see the university engage this way.

"I have a strong feeling that community service should be part of the university's mission in a serious way and that students learn best ... through the opportunity to do community work," he said.

He has appreciated the city's work and support for the project, too.

"This whole effort has really been in parallel to and stemmed from the city's philosophy of public art and the evolution of that," he said.

Mandy Vink, public art administrator for the city of Boulder, said this is one of a number of public art projects underway, and the city is working to introduce more projects from a diversity of material, experience, duration and artists.

"Public art is a tool to help engage in greater conversations that are happening with the community," she said.

Cassa Niedringhaus: 303-473-1106, cniedringhaus@dailycamera.com