Law is what we do and a part of who we are, but our lives are fully immersed in the people, places and perspectives that create Denver’s identity.  Deeply entwined with our legal practice is our love of place.  This is our opportunity to share our personal insights.

Office environments are not exactly known for cultivating creativity.  However, well‑placed artwork has the power to create unexpected moments of reflection and imagination.  Before Otten Johnson’s renovation a couple years ago, these moments were few and far between.  There were several gems in our art collection, but they were relegated to the oft-ignored corners and corridors of the office.  With the help of Nine Dot Arts, we breathed new life into our existing collection and selected new pieces that captured the firm’s local and approachable culture.  Here are a few highlights from our art collection:

Echoes in the Distance by Craig Robb

It is hard to ignore this masterpiece when you first walk into Otten Johnson’s offices.  With intertwined wood and steel elements, it captures both the movement and stability of various landscapes, in both practical and creative contexts.  A closer look reveals smaller found elements that make subtle references to the firm’s real estate and land use practices.  This imaginative 3-D installation from a local Colorado artist sets the creative vibe for the rest of the Otten Johnson office space.

Architectural Drawings series by Frank Lloyd Wright

Artwork does not need to be expensive in order to be impactful.  This collection of Frank Lloyd Wright sketches was cut out from an old calendar (really!).  While the drawings felt drab when hung in a horizontal stripe down the office hallways, grouping them together in a gallery wall created a worthy tribute to the famous architect.  By drawing your eye to multiple sketches at once, it allows you to appreciate the innovative elements of Wright’s architectural designs.

The Drift by Georgia Amar

Otten Johnson has an impressive collection of artwork by Denver artist Georgia Amar, thanks to her husband and former Otten Johnson attorney Jack Pappalardo.  While our collection mainly features her signature landscapes with surrealist elements and soothing color palettes, The Drift presents an intriguing departure.  This abstract painting draws you in with an unexpected combination of blue, green and orange hues against an inky black backdrop.  The biomorphic forms echo butterfly wings, river patterns or whatever your Rorschach test says about you.  For me, it reflects the essence of abstract art—it can be whatever you want (or need) it to be at any given moment.

Otherscape Series by Tyler Beard

This inconspicuous collage series by Tyler Beard is my personal favorite.  Starting with double-page spreads from a 1950s book about national parks, Beard cut out geometric shapes from one page and transposed them onto the other page.  The landscapes are subtly transformed by layering unexpected dimensions.  The artwork encourages you to admire the picturesque scenery while reflecting on how your own perceptions can alter your surroundings.

Law is what we do and a part of who we are, but our lives are fully immersed in the people, places and perspectives that create Denver’s identity.  Deeply entwined with our legal practice is our love of place.  This is our opportunity to share our personal insights.

Have you ever wondered why small commercial pockets containing some of Denver’s most popular restaurants and shops are located in the middle of otherwise quiet urban neighborhoods?  These are the miniature commercial districts such as South Pearl Street in the Platt Park neighborhood, Tennyson Street in the Highlands, and South Gaylord Street in the East Wash Park neighborhood.  As a resident of Congress Park who frequently walks to restaurants and stores, I sure did.  It turns out, much thanks is owed to the old streetcar lines that used to connect Denver’s urban neighborhoods to downtown from the 1880s through the 1940s. Continue Reading City Prism: Streetcar Lines and Neighborhood Commercial Districts

Law is what we do and a part of who we are, but our lives are fully immersed in the people, places and perspectives that create Denver’s identity.  Deeply entwined with our legal practice is our love of place.  This is our opportunity to share our personal insights.

While some of my younger colleagues believe I am incapable of appreciating modern music, that is not quite true.  I love some modern Celtic Punk.  But they are right that I tend to prefer music released before 1981, when I turned 30.  When I was asked to compile a list of best Colorado-inspired songs, I did a quick Google search and found a couple of prior compilations (here and here).  Unsurprisingly, I am unfamiliar with most of these songs.  The playlists do include my favorite song which mentions Denver, Warren Zevon’s Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, but none mention my other favorite song about Colorado, Snowin’ on Raton written by Townes Van Zandt.

The only explanation I have for this grave oversight is that the list makers connect Raton Pass with Raton, New Mexico, not realizing that you cannot cross Raton Pass without either starting or ending in Colorado.  Although I could not find a high-quality recording of Townes’ version on YouTube, there are a number of versions by other wonderful musicians, including Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Gillian Welch and Natalie Maines.

I leave you with a verse, which has to be among the best song lyrics ever written:

Bid the years good-bye
You cannot still them
You cannot turn
The circles of the sun
You cannot count the miles
Until you feel them
And you cannot hold
A lover that has gone

Welcome to the first installation of City Prism.  Law is what we do and a part of who we are, but our lives are fully immersed in the people, places and perspectives that create Denver’s identity.  Deeply entwined with our legal practice is our love of place.  This is our opportunity to share our personal insights.

The Golden Triangle neighborhood has officially welcomed a long-anticipated resident–the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.  With a sleek $22 million building that seamlessly integrates a century-old studio (the relocation process being its own story), the newly reopened museum now has the capacity to exhibit about 6,000 art objects (still only 1/5 of the entire collection).  The gallery rooms are similar to visiting the home of an eccentric and extremely rich aunt, with paintings hanging over the furniture from the same time period.  It would be downright impossible to focus on every single object.  Better to focus on the objects that capture your imagination–whether it is the intricate china sets, funky lamps, or highly impractical chairs–and ruminate on what you would pick out for your own living room. Continue Reading City Prism: Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art Reopens in Golden Triangle