The idea that innovation is a form of art is playing out at the Rosedale Shop and park in the Southwest District in Denver. Almost every time you ask this crew why they work for Denver Parks, they will unanimously say they like working outside, and making parks green and beautiful.

When you type into Google the definition of art, the first thing that comes up is the following: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Would you consider a grassy knoll art? I say yes,especially if what used to exist in the middle of this tucked away park was a concrete slab, jutting out of a trail, creating a graffiti eyesore. Tim DeShong, a newly minted Denverite, Green Belt, artist, and Parks employee was asked if he would help remove this concrete block from the middle of the park, which proved an impossible feat after a day spent pulling, tugging, and digging at this hideous landmark. They would have needed a trailer and lift to actually remove it.  Tim asked his supervisor if he could turn it into art instead, and that is exactly what he did!

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Tim’s idea was to create a grass filled park bench, something he calls urban natural art. “Creating a grass bench is an idea I have had for a while, and we didn’t need any new materials to do so”. He partnered with a few enthusiastic team members and horticulturist to re-purpose dirt, native flowers and plants, mulch, and stones that were sitting unused in their shop lot to create this urban oasis for the local park users.

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At 6am one morning, he drove me out to this bench, and as the sun rises, you can see native flowers forming the outskirts of this piece of art, with stone steps leading up to the top of the knoll. This bench makes you want to lounge with a book, a cup of coffee; take a selfie, or climb to the top and raise your hands in victory. Not only did Tim clear the clutter littering their shop parking lot, but he created art and an aesthetically pleasing innovation from his existing resources. His innovation is inspiring. It is creative, and it is fun. Denver Parks at their best!

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It has been an honor to partner with you.

Patrice Hawkins

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