Midtown Cafe buys sculptures from local artist
Agate Avenue got a new pop of color June 10. Midtown Cafe installed two sculptures made by local artist John Henley on the west side of their building. The funding for this public art came from Colorado’s Main Street: Open for Business program.
Granby chose Grand Construction Associates as the contractor for projects funded by the Main Street program in 2021. Owner Barry Young spearheaded the art-buying process at the cafe, according to Midtown Cafe co-owner Candice O’Connor.
“We were talking about new signs and he goes, ‘You know, that wall needs something, you know, it just needs something,’” O’Connor said. “It was mostly Barry (Young) that brought it all to fruition.”
O’Connor said Young knew Henley and asked him about what would look good against the cafe wall. Henley, who owns John Henley Designs in Granby, had already built a sculpture called Euclid’s Dream as part of a series of sculptures based on repetitive geometric forms.
“There’s 20 to 30 (of) the same quadrangle that are put together and built into that piece,” Henley said. “Euclid was the father of modern geometry, so there’s your play on words.”
Henley built the other sculpture, Sunrise to Sunset, for Midtown Cafe, but he said it came from a concept he had already formed. The sculpture hangs on the wall and features a blue background with orange, yellow and red dots partially covering holes in the background.
A few locals have told O’Connor they like the sculptures, and she said colorful art like this can do a lot for the town.
“It amazes me what the color did,” O’Connor said. “This is just a steel building. There’s nothing fancy about it, so it’s nice having your dressing on it, having the extra.”
The Main Street: Open for Business project will fund other facade improvements at Midtown Cafe, like signage and a fresh coat of paint on the exterior. While the west side with the sculptures already has new paint, the east side received the wrong color and will be redone.
Henley appreciated O’Connor and her husband, the other Midtown Cafe co-owner, for using public art to brighten up the town for locals and people passing through. He pointed out that local business owners, not the town or an art committee, made space for the art.
“They were willing to do that and willing to branch out,” Henley said. “An abstract expressionist sculpture is not exactly what Granby is known for. I think that’s taking (a) risk.”
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