Published: Jan. 17, 2020

The university today announced the creation of the CU Boulder History Project, a collaborative effort among campus subject matter experts and stakeholder groups charged with deepening the campus’s understanding and collective recognition of underrepresented groups and their contributions to CU Boulder’s rich and complex history.

In addition, university officials announced the establishment of the Art in Public Space Committee, a standing body that will develop and propose a vision for public art that is specific to CU Boulder and devise a strategy for implementing this vision by acquiring, maintaining and deaccessioning public art through a practice of inclusive excellence.

The two new initiatives are an outgrowth of dialogue that arose following the installation of Los Seis de Boulder, a temporary sculpture about six students killed in bombings in Boulder during the Chicano rights movement in the 1970s. In collaboration with others, CU Boulder graduate student Jasmine Baetz created the artwork on display in front of Temporary Building No. 1.

The sculpture was originally scheduled to remain on display through Feb. 8. Under the terms of current campus policy, noncommissioned student or faculty artwork may remain on display for a maximum of 180 days. The Campus Use of University Facilities temporary art exhibit process was designed to honor the broad spectrum of perspectives that students and faculty bring to CU Boulder over time, according to campus facilities management administrators.

Chancellor Philip DiStefano said he granted a one-month extension as the history project gets off the ground and the public art committee gets underway.  

“This art installation has served an important educational purpose and has had an impact on the campus and surrounding Boulder community over the past several months,” the chancellor said. “It has promoted important discussions about a chapter of the civil rights era–the Chicano rights movement and the quest for social equality and greater access to higher education–and we want to sustain that dialogue through these new campus initiatives.”

DiStefano said the new standing public art committee would work to develop guidelines for permanent art displays. Committee members will represent undergraduate and graduate governance groups and key academic and administrative units on campus.

An exploratory group will begin the committee’s work later this month.

The CU Boulder History Project will be guided by a committee composed of faculty subject matter experts, archivists, staff, students, alumni and community partners and advisors. The project will include the story of Los Seis de Boulder and an editorial process for community-based story submissions over time, DiStefano noted.

“We have clearly heard that members of our community want two things–the stories of the University of Colorado Boulder told in a more inclusive way, and to establish a process for determining permanent public art displays,” DiStefano said.

The new public art committee will begin its work by establishing its charge, membership and input mechanism for consideration of proposed permanent public art installations.

Community Making Day Jan. 18

Artist Jasmine Baetz and other CU Boulder students are holding the first Community Making Day on Jan. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in Room 175 at the Visual Arts Complex.

The event will be a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Los Seis de Boulder sculpture and other student art projects.

Sponsors include the Graduate Students of Color Coalition, the United Mexican American Students y Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (UMAS y MEXA) and the Black Student Alliance.


Jasmine Baetz talks to CU Science Discovery campers about one of the mosaic portraits. (Photo by Lisa Schwartz, CU Boulder)

Jasmine Baetz talks to CU Science Discovery campers about one of the mosaic portraits. (Photo by Lisa Schwartz, CU Boulder)