From the City’s Master Plan for this petite park on the southwest corner of the Hilltop neighborhood:
“Burns Park is a uniquely-situated parcel of land donated to the City of Denver and named to honor Daniel C. Burns in 1940. Burns was a prominent real estate developer, lawyer, University of Denver graduate, art enthusiast, and philanthropist. Burns’ family donated the 12.4 parcel of land upon his passing as tribute to the impact he had on Denver. Formal and informal improvements to the park occurred between 1940 and 1964. These improvements included trails, grading, plantings, perimeter road development, utility access – all resulting in a park concept plan, developed In 1964.
Until 1968, the park primarily served as necessary open greenspace in a growing neighborhood. During Thanksgiving of 1967, a group of local artists and philanthropists envisioned building an international sculpture symposium and identified Burns Park as the host site. The 1968 Denver Sculpture Symposium occurred during the seminal summer of 1968 and showcased nine artists who created “architectonic” sculptures on site with help from the Denver community. Artists were both local and national, all of national reputation: Angelo diBenedetto, Dean Fleming, Peter Forakis, Roger Kotoske, Anthony Magar, Robert Mangold, Robert Morris, Richard Van Buren, and Wilbert Verhelst.
These large-scale sculptures were originally intended to be temporary; however the community embraced the work resulting in Mayor Currigan formally adopting the sculptures into Denver’s public art collection. Still relevant today, the park has hosted many events and temporary sculpture exhibits that respond to the original collection. Two sculptures were added since the original symposium, Jazz by Barbara Baer in 1999, and Untitled by Anthony Magar, privately commissioned in 1968 but acquired for the park in 2010. Most recently, “Experience 1968” was held as a day-long event in which contemporary artists responded to the original symposium with site-specific works including temporary sculptures and performance pieces. With four of the original nine sculptures still present, and the addition of two permanent pieces, the park remains a neighborhood and regional destination for active play, leisure activity, and art contemplation.”
Burns Park Master Plan
In 2015, Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Denver Arts & Venues developed a framework and strategy for park improvements and for the protection, rehabilitation and advancement of Denver public art within the park. Several Hilltop residents have been involved in the stakeholders meetings developing a plan for the Park. Read the Burn Park Master Plan and this Westword article about the sculptures in this park.