New art installations open at public art park

Jul 1, 2024

The public art park has a new neon-and-graffiti art mural and a new massive 25-foot-tall sculpture.

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora’s public art park has added two new installations.

The new works join Umi, the popular 21-foot sculpture that was unveiled last year at The Aurora Highlandspublic art park.

Visitors are welcome to explore the new sculptures at any time at Hogan Park at Highlands Creek.

The Only Way Out is Through X SNYDER

The neon graffiti art installation “The Only Way Out is Through X SNYDER” is located just to the east of Umi.

Created by American contemporary artist Olivia Steele and Berlin-based graffiti artist SNYDER, the installation, found on a 30-foot tunnel in the park, has a phoenix rising from the ashes.

The neon letters display the Robert Frost quote “The Only Way Out is Through,” glowing at all hours of the day and night, symbolizing resilience and hope.

“This mural represents the journey through difficult times, reminding everyone that perseverance is key,” said Steele, who also created the park’s inaugural “Public Displays of Awareness” art installations. “Art has the power to convey profound messages, and I am honored to contribute to this project. It’s about inspiring people to keep going, no matter how tough things get.”

“The phoenix is a universal symbol of rebirth and renewal,” said SNYDER. “It’s about finding strength in adversity and coming out stronger on the other side. I hope this piece encourages people to see the potential for new beginnings in every challenge they face.”

Broken but Together

A second installation, “Broken but Together,” was created by Michael Benisty.

The 25-foot-tall sculpture was crafted from mirrored polished steel, depicting two figures in an embrace.

Embodying unity and healing and towering over the park, the installation reflects light on its surroundings to symbolize the interconnectedness of the community.

“I have a passion for creating art that not only spreads positivity but also becomes a community gathering space,” said Benisty. “When approached to contribute to The Aurora Highlands’ art park, I was thrilled to create a piece that can be seen from far and wide and depicts a message of togetherness, bringing people from all walks of life to appreciate the beauty of art.”

All the park’s permanent art installations were commissioned by Carla Ferreira, principal and director of onsite development at The Aurora Highlands.

“Every installation within Hogan Park at Highlands Creek highlights themes of perseverance and unity, resonating deeply with our community’s values,” Ferreira said. “Public art like this not only beautifies our surroundings but also enriches our lives by provoking thought and emotion. It’s a testament to our commitment to creating a space where art and community flourish together.”

The 21-foot-tall sculpture “Umi” was completed last August at Hogan Park at Highlands Creek.

Created by Daniel Popper, an acclaimed artist from South Africa, Umi is Popper’s debut installation in Colorado, where he and his wife once lived. 

The sculpture, which depicts the convergence of woman and tree, stands more than two-stories tall with a designated space within the art for the public to explore. Umi, which means “ocean” in Japanese, was inspired by the concept of “Gaia,” the primordial mother and ancestral goddess who shaped and nurtured all life.  

“Colorado, with its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities, in many ways is a second home to me, offering a nurturing haven away from our beloved Cape Town, South Africa,” Popper said.

“With Umi finding her permanent home in Colorado, I am filled with deep gratitude and excitement. The Aurora Highlands has infused a profound appreciation for artistic expression into Umi and its public art park, Hogan Park at Highlands Creek. We hope these installations will serve as a beacon of inspiration, elevating and illuminating the hearts and minds of Aurora and Colorado as a whole.”

Popper’s installations have graced public and private spaces worldwide, including Afrikaburn in his home country of South Africa, Boom Festival in Portugal, and Electric Daisy Carnival and Electric Forest in the United States.