Our Mission:
"To actively protect the classical, pastoral character of Denver's City Park."

A huge crowd gathered at the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue and outdoor museum in City Park yesterday, Jan. 20,  for Denver's 35th year celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  This day is a Federal holiday that celebrates King's birthday, honors his legacy and shines a light on civil rights. Former Denver First Lady, Wilma Webb gave a moving speech at the site of the MLK statue. Webb, who served in Colorado's House of Representatives for six terms, was responsible for getting Dr. King honored in Colorado and also for establishing the march in his honor which she named the "Marade," now a term recognized nationally for the marches in Dr. King's honor every year.

In an interview with KUNC's Stephanie Daniel, Webb noted Dr. King's Denver connections: "...When I was a young girl, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Denver. He was the guest speaker at our church, New Hope Baptist Church...Then Mrs. Coretta Scott King also came here and her first official speech to an audience, her first public speech, was done here in Denver, Colorado at new Hope Baptist Church. I was the organist and she was the guest speaker and we were friends ever since then..."

The well-loved Martin Luther King, Jr. statue is the work of Denver sculptor, Ed Dwight, whose art is internationally recognized.  Webb describes the tablets surrounding the statue: "They give the history of African Americans from the beginning of slavery on up until the assassination of Dr. King. They also have his remarkable, untouched quotations that he used throughout his life to improve humankind."

This year's Marade also featured a gathering of marchers protesting Denver's camping ban at City Park's Thatcher Memorial. Activists from the Colorado Poor People's Campaign ( the local chapter of a national chapter started by King in 1967), and Black Lives Matter 5280, the local chapter of the national anti-discrimination movement, were some of those protesting. Denver District 9 City Councilwoman, Candi CdeBaca, her partner, poet and performing artist, Kerrie Joy, District 9 Chief of Staff, Lisa Calderón and her daughter, Savannah joined in support of the protesters.

Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator and Director of Outreach, Denver Botanic Gardens

"A History of Horticulture in Colorado"
February 4, 2020, 6-8 pm

Messiah Community Church
1750 Colorado Blvd.
Parking behind the church off 18th Ave.

City Park Friends and Neighbors is pleased to announce that Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator and Director of Outreach for Denver Botanic Gardens, will give a presentation, "A History of Horticulture in Colorado," at CPFAN's February 4 meeting. Kelaidis describes his presentation: "Although horticulture in Colorado has hundreds if not thousands of years of history among our first peoples, the gardening we practice was essentially a graft from European stock--primarily the Netherlands. The two towering figures who have probably influenced our planting philosophy more than anyone were Dutchmen who launched their careers a century ago: Saco DeBoer and M. Walter Pesman who were both landscape architects, writers and gardeners. Their work shaped most of Denver's parks, parkways, schools and the neighborhoods around Park Hill and especially City Park."

Kelaidis' talk, with its emphasis on Saco DeBoer who designed City Park's Lily Pond and the DeBoer Canyon and Waterway, will kick off "Color Field at the Lily Ponds."  Color Field is a project conceived by Denver artists, Sarah and Josh Palmeri. The innovative art installation will draw attention to the historic Lily Pond space (SW of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science) through a colorful, site-specific installation of roughly 6,000 painted gardening stakes in the seedbeds of the drained pond. The six uniquely shaped seed beds will transform into abstract forms of bright colors, bringing attention to this underutilized area of City Park. The installation aims to recall the history and and beauty of the pond area while building momentum for current plans to restore the historic area. The artists will connect Monet's influence on City Park with Color Field's display this May following the 2019-20 Monet exhibition at the Denver Art Museum.

How is the project funded? City Park Friends and Neighbors is one of eleven 2019-2020 "P.S. You Are Here" (PSYAH) grantees. Denver Arts and Venues' PSYAH funds are part of IMAGINE 2020, Denver's Cultural Plan that helps support creative, short-term projects that transform underutilized urban spaces to enrich communities and inspire long-term change. CPFAN has received a $8,000 PSYAH grant for the Color Field project.

Denver Arts and Venues, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, Denver Parks and Recreation, and City Park Alliance have provided critical support for the Color Field project.

Stay tuned for ways you can support this exciting project that will activate a neglected portion of our wonderful City Park, first called the Peoples' Park in 1906 by park planner, Charles Robinson.

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City Park Friends and Neighbors · 2339 Bellaire St · Denver, Colorado 80207 · USA

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