Twin Silo Park is a public art park, located on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Two cylindrical concrete silos, each with a diameter of and a height of, are the centerpieces of this public art park. The concrete silos were built as grain storage facilities in 1931 by Emery-Waterhouse Grain Company to store wheat for shipment across the country. They have been listed as historically significant structures by the city of Fort Collins since 1994.
When artist Judith Baca was invited to create Twin Silo Park in 2006, she envisioned a participatory art project that would engage all age groups and abilities – from children to community leaders; professional artists to anonymous passersby; school to prison; and senior citizen, to youth. Her vision was realized with more than 5,000 participants from 240 community organizations who contributed their unique art talents toward the realization of Twin Silo Park as a new public plaza at Colorado State University.
With this effort, Baca has given worldwide visibility to the neighborhood groups that have been hidden in plain sight for decades. These “invisible” individuals perform vital services within their communities but lack access to the resources that would allow them to contribute more widely. Baca’s artwork provides a venue for these community organizations to not only express themselves artistically but also raise awareness about how they can be powerful engines of change within their own neighborhoods.
The inspiration behind Judith Baca’s work comes from her that when she was growing up in East Los Angeles, her mother took her to a local park that had been designed by the famous Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Baca remembers spending hours at this park with friends from school listening to music and playing ball.
The “playfulness” of this creative environment inspired her to create public art parks. In 1989, she launched another major public art project called Trans-Species, which transformed an entire city block in downtown Los Angeles into a colorful mosaic for people of all ages and abilities to interact with while stimulating their imaginations about community values and celebrating cultural diversity.
The true transformation of Twin Silos began on July 1, 2007, when community members were invited to paint murals on the silos’ interior walls. These murals were created by community members affiliated with local organizations including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, AARP, youth groups, and senior cooperatives.
More than 5,000 participants came to paint the murals throughout the summer of 2007 creating a vibrant palette of color that brightens up the Fort Collins landscape.
The artwork is also intended to spotlight invisible community contributors such as leaders who have been working in their neighborhoods for decades without formal recognition or support; volunteers who serve meals at shelters and help build affordable housing; and artists who paint downtown cityscapes but lack access to safe places where they can display their work.
A Legacy for Living History Park will be an ongoing exhibit told through paintings on concrete inspired by the local community, an interactive website, and archival materials.
On November 11, 2008, the site was officially opened to the public. It serves as a central meeting place for students and a gathering plaza for community organizations of all kinds. Twin Silo Park is located on the corner of Mason Street and Shields Street in Fort Collins, Colorado. All members of the visiting public are welcome!