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Creativity Flows Freely in Castle Rock, CO

Castle Rock invests in its creative side.

By Rebecca Treon on August 12, 2022

Mural in Castle Rock CO
Journal Communications/Colin Shreffler

Decorating city streets and showing up in performing arts shows across town, art is everywhere in Castle Rock.

Businesses, nonprofits and civic leaders recognize that public art projects benefit everyone who calls the community home, and the organizations work together to make art accessible to all. Residents also continue to invest and advocate for their robust artist community of painters, musicians, writers and other creatives.

The Philip S. Miller Trust Fund allows funding for all public art projects without using taxpayer dollars, underwriting a robust number of projects through the community.

Castle Rock, CO: 2022 Painting Positivity Mural in Castle Rock, Colorado ©Journal Communications/Colin Shreffler
Colin Shreffler

Art is Everywhere

“We want to make sure that wherever you go in town, you’ll encounter some kind of art. We have a thriving art culture in Castle Rock, with a public focus, whether that’s outdoor sculptures or murals on private businesses and county property,” says Jen Perry, chair of the Public Art Commission. “We don’t have a big art center in a central location, but the advantage to that is art throughout the community in places you wouldn’t normally expect to see – whether on a trail or in a gallery, a restaurant, or a concert in the park – there are a bunch of opportunities for people to engage in the arts.”

From taking advantage of the many scenic murals throughout Castle Rock, such as the Philip S. Miller or Painting Positivity murals, by taking a selfie or enjoying the rotating outdoor sculptures as part of the Douglas County Art Encounters program, the aura of creativity is evident in Castle Rock.

Castle Rock, CO: People gathered around talking at 2022 Rhyolite Gallery ©Journal Communications/Colin Shreffler
Colin Shreffler

Getting Engaged

Residents love to take advantage of the public programs designed to get people engaged in the arts, too. For example, the Castle Rock Artfest is hosted by the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce every September and draws more than 110 artists from around the U.S.

There’s live music on summer evenings with the Music in The Meadows program and art classes available for children and adults. First Fridays include a 5K race, food trucks, art, live music and family fun.

Castle Rock, CO: 2022 Rhyolite Gallery ©Journal Communications/Colin Shreffler
Colin Shreffler

There’s no shortage of ways to experience Castle Rock’s artistic side. The Rhyolite Gallery, located in the heart of downtown, specializes in curating fine art. It’s a great place to wander and experience paintings, sculptures, photography and goods from local artists.

The Castle Rock Artist Cooperative serves artists and the community by helping find artists avenues to exhibit their work, and local businesses fill spaces with art (and customers).

“We had the idea to bring art into restaurants and cafes and do pop-up exhibits with an artist reception,” says Nick Lucey, owner of the Rhyolite Gallery and president of the Castle Rock Artist Cooperative. “We are a nonprofit that offers local artists gallery space and opportunities to show their work throughout town. Our mission is to bring the beauty and experience of art to the community.”

Residents who want to dive deeper into the arts needn’t look far. Castle Rock is also surrounded by arts complexes such as the Lone Tree Arts Center and the Parker Arts, Culture & Events Center, within a short drive (under 15 minutes).

“Our mission is to bring the beauty and experience of art to the community.”

Nick Lucey, Castle Rock Artist Cooperative

Downtown Denver is only a half hour away, with its Center for the Performing Arts and multiple concert venues and art museums. Art lovers in Castle Rock can enjoy the arts, whether right in town or a stone’s throw away.

“We live in a really beautiful physical environment surrounding us, but it’s the artistic component that makes people love their community, and as new people move here, we want them to feel welcome,” Perry says. “We want people to have a great love for Castle Rock – no other place in the world is like it.”

Castle Rock, CO: Man paints at Castle Rock Artist Cooperative
Castle Rock Artist Cooperative

Q&A with Daniel Levinson

Get to know Daniel Levinson, the artist who created the Philip S. Miller Mural in Castle Rock

What is your background as an artist, and how did you end up painting this mural in Castle Rock? 

I’m a Denver native. I got my BFA at the University of Colorado at Boulder and my MFA at the Pratt Institute in New York City. I came back to Colorado, settling in the Pueblo area for a few years and then moved to Littleton. I teach digital art to high school students at the STEM School Highlands Ranch. I’ve painted murals around Colorado, including in Pueblo and in the RiNo District of Denver, which are both known for their murals. The Castle Rock Arts Cooperative put out a call for submissions, I submitted a proposal, and they asked me to do the mural.

Tell me about the subject of the mural you painted, Philip S. Miller.

He’s sort of one of the founding fathers of Castle Rock and played a big part in its early beginnings as a small town. He was a business owner that rose to prominence and became quite wealthy and made an endowment to the city.
That’s why we have Philip S. Miller Park and Philip S. Miller Library, and he funded all of the public art throughout town. He was one of the people who brought electricity to the area, too. Singling him out and making him the focus as the central figure of the mural made perfect sense. One thing I was blown away by is that he allocated so many funds to things that would happen in the future: the library, education and recreation – that’s one of the things I find most interesting – his generosity.

Can you describe the mural and the symbolism in it?

In the mural, I wanted to translate a portrait of him, painted from a black and white photo, with a background of Castle Rock and some of the exciting things he brought to the table. It has a sweeping panoramic view over the backdrop of the town with Castle Rock’s general landscape. There are books moving through the air with no gravity and there are some glowing lights referring to electrifying the city.

If you’d like to learn more about the Castle Rock area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Castle Rock, CO

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