The Trust for Public Land Announces $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts Grant for Public Art at New Freedom Park

Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), in collaboration with The Trust for Public Land, has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Works grant program to create arts elements at east Denver’s New Freedom Park.

The grant will fund an artist who will design and create art pieces that are beautiful and provide shade to park users, while encouraging stewardship of park trees and plants. Previously a mostly vacant lot, New Freedom Park was reconstructed in 2012 as a new park that serves a unique multinational refugee community within the City of Denver.

Jim Petterson, Southwest and Colorado State Director for The Trust for Public Land explains: “This is such an exciting opportunity to work with an artist to reengage the community around New Freedom Park. Not only will we be able to create a unique work of art that shades the families that use the park every day, but we also have an opportunity to work with a local artist to celebrate and bring attention to one of Denver’s mostly culturally diverse neighborhoods. This Art Works grant from the NEA will allow The Trust for Public Land and our partners Denver Parks and Recreation and Denver Urban Gardens to remind the broader Denver community of what truly makes New Freedom Park so special – the 7,391 people who live within a ten minute walk of this unique neighborhood park.”

“This project offers an incredible opportunity to incorporate environmental protection, experiential learning, and beautiful art into the redevelopment of New Freedom Park,” said Tariana Navas-Nieves the Director of Cultural Affairs for Denver Arts & Venues, “It also supports key vision elements of IMAGINE 2020, Denver’s Cultural Plan, addressing the integration of arts, culture, and creativity into daily life, and accessibility by making this park welcoming to our city’s diverse communities.”

This park, which celebrated its fifth year anniversary earlier this year, is now a cherished common ground where garden plots, a soccer field, seating, and play spaces bring diverse cultures together, as immigrant families put down roots. The park was in many ways designed around a large old cottonwood tree which had to be removed – leaving the park with no source of shade. This grant will enable artist and community collaboration to highlight through art the diversity of New Freedom park users and provide long-term shade, beauty, and learning.

“Denver’s public outdoor spaces are one of the most important assets to our city and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with The Trust for Public Land and the National Endowment for the Arts to enhance and celebrate New Freedom Park, ” said Michael Buchenau, Executive Director of Denver Urban Gardens.” This grant will allow us to bring an exceptional piece of art to the neighborhood surrounding New Freedom Park, while enhancing this loved community gathering space with much needed shade.”

The project will likely be implemented in early 2019. For further questions please contact Emily Patterson at

About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit