Colfax Clothesline: City of Denver

You’re welcome to contact the sculptor for more details and images at

Really working!

Working, Running, Spinning

The sculpture was installed last Thursday.  It took 5 hrs. to pull the cable into place through a series of straps and cable stops.  I am so happy to see this sculpture in place.

Foundations look like TOP HATS!

The foundation work is complete.  Many thanks to Censpace Structural Engineering (CSE) for all their help and design.  Kyle from CSE came to inspect the project.  He provided a stamped letter of approval.

Digging and Pouring

It seems like the foundation work is the most unappreciated work of the whole process yet it's the most involved.

Colors and Painting

This is the time when you get to see all the parts coming together.  The wheels will get a small details to add to the energy and movement of the Colfax corridor.  The bearing construction is working so well that at times, it's hard to paint if there's a small breeze.

Ready for Media-Blasting

All the wheels have been sculpted and are now ready for sandblasting.  They will go through a specialized process of "media" blasting.  Instead of using sand in a typical sand-blasting, the material will be shot with soda.  In using a different material to prepare the stainless steel sheet metal, it will not warp the forms.  The stainless requires that it be media-blasted so that the powder coat will be able to take a very strong root or bond to the metal.  It will promote a longer-life and durability of the final finish.

Wheel Progress

Building the wheel has been part of a fun creative process.  I am implementing an "air nibbler" and an industrial spot welder.  All the wheels has been cut.  I've formed the center support cups.  Today, I'm beginning to assemble the wheels.  Each one will take on a special meaning about Upper Colfax.

Welding the supports

Assembly of the cathedral joints.  All is completed and ready to be polished!

The poles are gracefully trimmed

The support poles were completed at Western Steel and Boiler.  Once in the studio, they have been trimmed.  They are on the way to be fitted and set to the base plates.

The base plates are cut and ready for drilling.

Working the materials into the Studio

These are images of the materials being assembled for the project.  Not terribly exciting.... to most.  For the studio raw materials always sparks the imagination.  The large 4" pipes are already delivered to Western Steel and Boiler.  It's an amazing shop.  They will put the pipes on a giant "English Wheel" to place the graceful bend in the support poles.

From the Drawing to the Studio

I like blue ink.

Design work for both artistic and structural have been evaluated and deemed -- "MOVE FORWARD".
The fun part begins!!!  More images and play-by-play building of the sculpture will follow.

Moving to Final Drawings

Got the OK!  All the preliminary drawings have been reviewed and accepted.  Now the project moves to the desk of Censpace Structural Engineer, LLC.  Public Engineer, Tim Morgan, will begin his review, calculations and stamp the designs.

Progress is being made.  That concept always feels good!!

Preliminary Drawings

Here are seventeen drawings describing the sculpture in the best detail possible.  These drawings are heading to the City of Denver for their review.  Then I will have a soil assessment report completed and send the drawings to a Public Engineer for design recommendations and approval.  The PE will complete his evaluations with an official 'stamp'.

If you'd like to see a higher resolution file, feel free to contact me.

Written Proposal and Intent

City of Denver: East Colfax Avenue - Grant St to Columbine St
Arts & Venues Denver
Sculptor: Reven Marie Swanson

“Upper Main Street Clothesline”

In consideration for this project on Park Avenue and Colfax, it is proposed to create a sculpture with six kinetic discs suspended on a steel cable between two swaying upright poles.  The discs fashioned from 11-gauge mild steel and fitted bearings.  Their finishes are brightly colored powder coats and enamel paints.  The support poles fabricated in polished stainless steel and rolled to create an effortless sway.  The mix of kinetic movement, color and bouncing patterns reflects the ‘moving energy” of Colfax Avenue – it’s commerce, culture, events, townships and people.

Appropriateness of Design Concept
In a historical consideration, US Hwy. 40 is a clothesline connection of commerce, culture, events, townships and people.  US Highway 40 meant that Denver continued to grow as a major corridor from East to West.  It ensured Denver the benefit of being a major crossroad.  The history of a “moving culture” filled with automobiles, bikes, pedestrians and businesses.  In a short lifetime, the tide of business, gentrification and re-development ebbs and flows like the roadway’s daily traffic jams.

As a site consideration, the challenges the sculpture must address in this location include the existing trees and canopy, local residents, competing visuals from commercial signs and be tamper-resistant.  The site has both a ‘drive-by’ location as well as a pedestrian use.

The visual considerations of the“drive-by” and pedestrian thoroughfare, the sculpture must be simple in nature, but generate a bold statement.  The background of Evergreen trees creates a strong canvas.  The neighborhood culture that is dramatically shifting with renewed energy.  The sculpture dances in a whimsical fashion.  Discs moving in different directions, at different speeds reflects the daily engagement of light, sound and people, going places, doing things – having a good time on Colfax Avenue.

The Discs
Fabricated in 11-gauge mild sheet metal steel, the shapes are cut and formed using a planishing hammer and plasma cutter.  Each disc is unique using steel and fused glass.  At the center, the disc is mounted to the suspension cable using a double-seal bearing construction.  The bearings allow for wind-powered motion.  A powder coat finish applied to all steel finishes contains UV protection.  Additional colors may be applied using a high-quality enamel paint. The sculptor uses a unique process in her powder coatings that produces a vibrant energy and dance of color.

Support Poles and Cable
In a graceful swaying motion, two 4.5" O.D, Schedule 40 stainless steel poles suspends a 3/8" stranded steel cable.  The hardware of the cable attachments tensions the cable and secures the height of the discs at 12-feet above ground.  The support poles standing approximately no more than 18.5-feet above ground are finished in a random polished steel.  A welded support plate with cathedral joints appropriate sized mounts to the foundation pad.

Lighting Element
Installed on top of the support poles, two large “finials” contain solar-powered LED lights.  The design of the finials reflects the design of the new light and sign fixtures installed along the corridor.  The finials further develops the historical reference as well as a consistent image promoted by the Colfax Business Improvement District.  The lights use ‘green power’.  All components of the lighting utility are installed to be easily accessible for routine maintenance.  The lighting feature will be designed to best accommodate the expected and routine maintenance schedules for the sculpture.

Foundation Design
In consideration of this site, a foundation design for the support poles is referred to as a ‘foundation block’.  The block extends 3-feet below ground below the frost-level, preventing heaving due to seasonal changes.  The upper portion will be above ground in a circular form.  This design alleviates the requirement to have heavy equipment such as cement truck and augers.  It allows for lawn equipment to work closely to the support poles.  The round shape and cement material reduces the opportunity for markings.  A sealant to the exposed concrete is applied assist in an easier process to remove any markings.

All designs and modifications to the sculptor’s presentation rendering are subject to change due to the assessment and approval of the Public Engineer, building code requirements and the City Engineer’s permit and approval.

Pedestrian Light Fixtures and Sign Posts
Images of the discs may be reproduced to use in the newly installed lights and sign posts throughout the Upper Colfax Corridor.  Simple constructions from cut from steel may be fabricated to carry the color and energy.  A consideration to assist in the design to create small kinetic parts to further enhance the vibrancy and collective image to the area in proposed sign boards may be added.

Installation Considerations and Accessability
All the installation activities for foundation and sculpture may use the Franklin Street access and parking.  The foundation block installation provides the opportunity to use hand tools and cement mixer on site.  The sculpture assembles in sections on site.  Two drywall lifts with rubber wheels are planned to upright and assemble the sculpture’s components.

It is anticipated that the foundation blocks be installed in one day.  The cement blocks cure for two weeks.  The sculpture components arrive thereafter and assemble in a day’s time as well.

The sculpture is built with the highest quality materials available within the appropriated budget.  The sculptor builds her work in a fashion to anticipate at least a 20-year life span.  All materials are designed to withstand the harsh Colorado weather conditions with UV-protection applied to colored-surfaces, double-sealed bearings and sizable support poles.  Standard colors are incorporated so that any future touch-up is required, the pigments are readily available.

The sculpture requires little maintenance.  An annual washing of the sculpture with mild soap and water lengthens the life of the colored pieces ten-fold by removing pollution residue and bird droppings.  An application of commonly used car wax to the colored surfaces shines the colored surfaces ‘like new’ is fading appears over time.

In the event the support poles be marked by graffitti, the surface may be cleaned with ‘graffitti remover’ or mineral spirits.  Any marking from lawn equipment, the surface may be buffed with steel wool or sand paper.

For the lighting element, an appropriate maintenance plan must be implemented to change bulbs.  It is anticipated that in 5 years, the batteries may need replacement as well.  The sculpture’s design will make such replacements easily performed.

Insurances and Warranties
The sculpture maintains liability insurance for both professional endeavors and vehicles.  All contract labor for fabrication and installation will carry the same insurances.  The sculptor guarantees the workmanship is of the highest quality possible and may warranty her workmanship for as long as the City deems necessary.

Notes to the Model
The model has been built to scale of 1-inch equals 1-foot. The components are all in proportion with the exception of the cable stops and light fixtures.  They are both represented larger than expected construction.  The placement of solar panels has not been determined.

About the Sculptor
Reven Marie Swanson has been working as a professional sculptor since 1989.  She has completed numerous commissions and permanent installations.  Her work may be viewed along the Front Range and throughout the West and Mid-West.  She has earned many awards and recognition where ever her work travels.  She understands the intricacies of fabricating sculptures for the public.  Her track record collaborating with structural engineers, city officials, architects and neighborhood representatives exemplifies her professional character and experience.  She has never missed a deadline and always meets her budget.

Ms. Swanson builds one-of-kind unique contemporary sculptures.  In doing so, every project presents different challenges.  She has a strong collection of vendors who understand her work and is ready to assist in the fabrication of quality sculpture.  All these vendors are long-time businesses and local to the Front Range.  This allows her to provide the ‘most art for the dollar’.

For nearly 20 years, she has assisted the well-known sculptor, Robert Mangold.  Some noted installations are the White House, Chicago Pier Walk and currently at the Arvada Center.  She also has assisted local governments with repairs to other sculptures their respective collections.

The City of Denver: East Colfax Avenue - Grant St to Columbine St projects personally inspires and captures the excitement and creative energy of Ms. Swanson.  It’s a project close to her own upbringing and personal experiences living and working near the Colfax Avenue corridor.


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