WORKSHOP8's temporary public art installation will make you love summer even more

Categories: Visual Arts

Crystal Allen
The Summer Is... installation, on display at the Denver Art Museum through September 8.
You can find art all over town -- not just on gallery walls. In this series, we'll be looking at some of the local artists who serve up their work in coffeehouses and other non-gallery businesses around town.

Summer is... sunshine, sweet tea and watermelon salad. Water, of course. Hiking, biking, rafting. Late nights around the campfire sharing beer, s'mores and conversation. Falling in love with a friend. Falling in love with Colorado all over again. Boulder-based collaborators WORKSHOP8 and Blue Spruce Design & Construction felt so inspired by the fleeting season of pool days, backyard grilling and sweet-smelling sunblock that they turned their favorite summertime memories into a unique and interactive temporary public-art installation, Summer is..., now up at the Denver Art Museum's Martin Plaza through September 8. Constructed with sustainable materials and a dash of ingenuity, the contemporary urban "campfires" give art lovers a chance to pull up a tree stump and share a story with friends -- without ever leaving the city or striking a match.

See also: DADA Art Bar gives art lovers and artists a place to hang out -- and hang

Crystal Allen
Everybody at WORKSHOP8 contributed to this unique reminder of a summertime campfire.
When the DAM put out a call for submissions for a temporary art installation in Martin Plaza, the folks at WORKSHOP8, a multi-faceted and energetic architecture, planning and design studio, wanted in. "We had done public-art competitions before, but other submissions have not been built," says Brandy LeMae, principal on the Summer is... project and an accomplished fine artist who has been represented by several Colorado galleries. You don't have to set foot in a gallery to see one of LeMae's masterpieces, though: Her newest installation, created with project designer Emily Axtman and contributors Gaby Crespo, Graham Bowman, Alex Chavez, Nathan Stark, jv DeSousa, Joseph Vigil and Adam Meis, is free for all to enjoy.

The WORKSHOP8 team explores various concepts for an urban campfire.
After receiving over fifty entries, the DAM selected WORKSHOP8's concept, and the team promptly began brainstorming. Everybody in the office worked on the project in some capacity, says LeMae, and after 400-plus hours of thinking, some of them around midnight, Emily Axtman came up with the idea for a campfire-like structure. It's a concept near and dear to Axtman, who has worked on community-based projects from North Carolina and Texas to Africa, advocating for design that shelters, empowers and strengthens communities.

Once the team settled on a concept, its members began looking to other artists and projects for inspiration: wish trees, Buddhist shrines, pallet structures, tape art, structures made of reclaimed materials, planted art, string art and art made with soda bottles, to name a few. The result of all that research is a modern interpretation of summertime. Summer is... campfire!

Continue reading for more on Summer Is...

Location Info


Denver Art Museum

100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway, Denver, CO

Category: General

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