Fort Collins art and culture is a vibrant part of the city as a whole. It surpasses the idea of looking at a piece of art hanging on a wall and makes it an experience. A Fort Collins crafted experience. Take a look into the passion that Fort Collins has for not only art, but community and how the two interact. Discover what Fort Collins is through our rich arts and culture scene.
1. First Friday Gallery Walk
First Friday Gallery Walk is held in Downtown Fort Collins on the first Friday of every month. During First Friday, local art museums, galleries and shops will stay open late to feature local art and culture within the community. It is the perfect time to get out and explore the bustling streets downtown. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant or check out a local ice cream parlor afterwards. Each month features a different schedule of events and featured artists, making for a unique #FortCollinsCrafted experience every time.
As part of a community collaboration, Fort Collins art shows through in the streets that are adorned with beautifully painted pianos. The pianos are donated to the project instead of being thrown away, and local artists step up to paint a mural on them. The pianos are then rotated around town for the public to enjoy as both musical instruments and works of art. As you stroll through town, keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for these whimsical, fun art pieces.
3. Painted Transformer Boxes
Colorado is Spanish for “Colored” and Fort Collins art is no exception to that. Typical towns have boring grey and green transformer/utility boxes that sit around town, ruining the view, but Fort Collins has decided to make those eyesores into beautiful art pieces through their Art in Public Places initiative. Throughout town you will find hand-painted transformer boxes that demonstrate the culture of Fort Collins art. Each transformer box around town is painted by a different local artists each with their own style and flare.
4. Open Streets Fort Collins
Starting in 2014, the city of Fort Collins began a cost-free, car-free initiative to get families out and about to enjoy the public streets of Fort Collins. These family-friendly events offer a day full of outdoor fun including walking, biking, rollerblading and more. Also enjoy the vendors throughout the area and the many interactive activities for people of all ages.
It’s almost like taking a step back in time when you step up onto the Fort Collins Trolley for a ride through Old Town. Birney Car 21 is a historic trolley that once ran through the streets of Fort Collins for transportation. Now, you can enjoy a ride on summer weekends between City Park and downtown Fort Collins. The charm of Fort Collins truly comes alive just seeing this historic feature still as a part of our local culture.
6. Fort Collins in Bloom
Once known as the “Lilac City”, Fort Collins a city full of beautiful foliage and colorful gardens. Our rich horticulture history remains a part of the Fort Collins culture today and can be explored through the Fort Collins in Bloom Tour. During the summer, rent a bike and take a ride to our many beautiful gardens, arboreta and plant research centers.
7. Noontime Notes
Starting in June and running through August, Noontime Notes is a great afternoon event that truly captures the culture of Fort Collins. Head down to Oak Street Plaza on Tuesday from 11-1 p.m. for live local music and a picnic lunch. At this event you’ll see kids dancing through the art sculpture water fountains as live music rings through the air. Fort Collins culture is all about enjoying the simple things in life.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Art in Public Places, is a community initiative intended to encourage and enhance artistic expression and art appreciation while adding value to Fort Collins through the exhibition of public art throughout the town. Pick up a map to take a self-guided tour of these local works of art including Transformer Cabinet Murals, Pianos About Town and Pedestrian Pavers.
8. Renovation Art
As Old Town Square undergoes its transformation this year, many art installments and events have popped up around the area. In May, local Front Range Community College art students wrapped up their interactive art projects on the South end of the square. What subsides is 10 locally-crafted sculptures made with reclaimed materials from the Old Town Square renovation. Also enjoy the month-long “Written in the Stars” active art feature from local artist Ren Burke happening in the square during renovation.