Explores Wellness Benefits of Art in the Great Outdoors
To support the urgent mental and behavioral health crisis in the community, Adams County has launched two campaigns to bridge the gap between public art, the outdoors, and wellness – while also bringing access to and highlighting the expanding parks, open space, and trail system available to the public.
Love Your Trails is a ground mural series dedicated to the natural beauty of the county. Fifteen local and national artists have been commissioned to install murals now through Fall 2022. Artists who have participated in the program have embraced the challenges of working outdoors and finding new ways to draw in audiences. Murals run 18 miles from the Fishing is Fun Pond in Riverdale Regional Park in Brighton along the South Platte River Trail and the Clear Creek Trail all the way to Sheridan Blvd.
Community Paint Days is an event series providing community members the opportunity to pick up a paintbrush, help paint the community mural, and meet one of the commissioned artists from the Love Your Trails campaign. The community is also welcome to simply watch and enjoy.
Adams County believes the addition and inclusion of art into local environments plays a significant role in the encouragement of lasting economic growth, creating and sustaining cultural identity, and creating a sense of belonging.
“Parks are democratic spaces – they are free to all, reflect the demographic diversity of our county, and are places for social and cultural interaction,” said Adams County Commissioner Lynn Baca, chair.
Participation in cultural activities connects people to each other and to their community institutions, providing pathways to other forms of participation. Thus, arts and culture can create opportunities for expression, community dialogue, and shared cultural experiences.
“Physical environments connect to mental and emotional well-being in more ways than one,” said Baca. “The spaces where we live and play form the context for our lives.”
Mental health problems are on the rise in Adams County and are associated with lower quality of life, increased unscheduled care, high economic and social cost, and increased mortality. Nature-based interventions (NBIs) that support people to engage with nature are data-driven solutions that improve mental health for community-based adults and children. While other environmental factors feed into mental disorders, it’s important to not overlook nature and art’s role in our emotional wellness. Studies have also shown those who participate in cultural activities show an increase in overall health. These surveys have also revealed that not only do people who create the art benefit, so do those who consume it.
“The interplay between art and nature offers bountiful opportunities for rejuvenating cultural encounters and a welcoming environment for all ages,” said Baca. “With the shifts we’ve seen in social interactions, people are craving safe, vibrant outdoor experiences. We’re thrilled to share our accessible and engaging public spaces with the community and to encourage respite and reflection, especially during these challenging times.”
The Love Your Trails and Community Paint Days series aims to provide free, accessible public spaces and art for all residents and visitors to come appreciate art and provides something for everyone.
Love Your Trails murals were selected by a unique art panel made up of members of the Adams County Visual Arts Commission and Parks, Open Space & Cultural Arts staff. Learn more about the Adams County Visual Arts Commission: adcogov.org/visual-arts-commission.
View a map of mural locations and more details about the artists: adcogov.org/cultural-arts-current-projects.
Community Paint Days Date and Time:
Twin Lakes Park
Saturday, Sept. 24, and Sunday, Sept. 25
Noon – 4 p.m.
Artist: Eli Pillaert
Mural Title: Front-range First Light
Mural Size: 10′ x 150′
About the design: This knotted alder plant design celebrates the invaluable resources the trail system provides to residents and visitors. The color palette is inspired by the light at sunrise.