Children center

Local artists set up interactive piece at Bal Swan Children’s Center – Broomfield Enterprise

Artists John King and Olsen Barrett drilled through the cinder block wall of the Bal Swan Children’s Center, installing a personalized piece of art piece by piece on July 15.

A beige wall in the lobby transformed into a vibrant, kid-friendly, interactive piece of art last week. A large yellow sun sits above three waves with varying circles or bubbles, sprinkled over the room. Each circle is set up to spin freely in either direction, and passers-by can’t help but spin a few. For King, that’s the point.

Artist Olsen Barrett pulls out the sun disk to place it. He and Lyon artist John King installed a piece of art last week at the Bal Swan children’s center in Broomfield. (Cliff Grassmick / Personal Photographer)

“First of all, we are in a kindergarten and that has a decorative purpose, enlivening this central area of ​​the kindergarten,” King said on July 15. “Way beyond that, it’s called interactive art, which means the work is done by you touching it. It’s there in a kind of relationship with you.

Bal Swan executive director Debbie Kunz said the project has been in the works for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would see a few pieces of her work, one in Broomfield Health and Human Services and one in the lobby of Mental Health Partners,” Kunz said of how she found King. “Like the way Bal Swan serves the whole child, art envelops all this childhood. We felt it appropriate to celebrate the kind of place where we are with art. I just contacted John and we spoke on the phone, it’s been a long time.

The two collaborated on a design from there. The idea started out as a tree, but Kunz said the wave design was much more appropriate.

“We are the school that focuses on the neurodiverse population and celebrates the strengths of all. So we wanted a piece that inspires and speaks to the mind, heart and soul, and all of a sudden you’re calm, ”Kunz said. “You sit here, you do that, then all of a sudden you breathe.” If we have a child who is going through a difficult time in class, the goal is that they can come here and interact with this room and come back calm and ready to return to the community.

Artists Olsen Barrett, left, and John King, position the sun disk for placement. The two artists have created a “unique work of art that will inspire creativity and innovation while promoting staff regulation” for the Bal Swan Children’s Center in Broomfield. (Cliff Grassmick / Personal Photographer)

King and Barrett created the piece from plywood covered with foil cardboard, which they polished and painted with different transparent colors. When the works of art are still, they catch the light and different designs can be seen that Barrett has polished. As the pieces begin to spin, they turn 3D, revealing the depth and layers of color and pattern – something King knew would instantly appeal to kids. .

Several students continued to poke their heads out of their class last week to see if the installation was complete.

“We are so excited! A student exclaimed, eager to finish.

“It’s art for me. It’s easy to make things happen, it’s easy to create an interaction. How do you create an interaction that is a gift, it’s good for the participant, it’s good for the installation? King explained, adding that the room is designed to be “something calm, deepening, grounding and centering so that these kids, as they pass by here, can pause and think about something. and have a personal experience that really helps them. “

Kunz said the way the part came together from the design phase to installation is fortuitous.

“It was our dream and they made it happen,” she said.

The art was commissioned with a donation from Broomfield 100 Women Who Care, an organization that filters donations to a chosen nonprofit area. Members of the public are invited to interact with the art in the Bal Swan Lobby, located at 1145 East 13th Ave. You can find more of King’s works at

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