Art on the Street Jean Mellblom & People's Choice Awards
Each year an Art on the Street sculpture is awarded a $1,000 Jean Mellblom Award. From 2009-2016 this award was determined by a vote of the people, the award was called The Jean Mellblom People's Choice Award. In 2017 the Public Art Committee made the Jean Mellblom Award and People's Choice Award two separate awards. Now the Jean Mellblom Award is determined by the Public Art Committee and a small panel of local artists. The People's Choice Award is determined by a vote of the people who attend the annual Meet the Artists and See & Respond! Reception held at the Lafayette Public Library in the fall.
The Jean Mellblom Story
Jean Mellblom lived in Lafayette for nearly 10 years in the 1990s. She brought the concept of publicly funded art to town. Jean was a persistent, feisty, and very friendly person –all of which helped her convince City officials that public art was necessary in Lafayette.
Jean started her campaign at the same time the new library building was being designed. She saw a large, eventually windowless wall on Baseline Rd. as a potential canvas. After developing an idea for the mural with a local artist, she spent several years raising funds for the project. She asked for donations, convinced city council to contribute matching money, and organized a program of selling mural tiles to donors.
The mural happened, and Jean raised so much enthusiasm for outdoor art that city council approved a public art fee on new developments. Many people have been involved since then, but it all started with Jean and a vision she had for Lafayette. Because of her dedication and vision, each year a piece in Art on the Street is selected for the “Jean Mellblom Award."
Jean Mellblom passed away in January of 2013. The Lafayette Public Art Committee would like to acknowledge that one of Jean Mellblom’s enduring legacies is the role she played in establishing Lafayette’s public art program. With the help of the Jean Mellblom Memorial fund, Jean’s family has purchased The Strollers, a sculpture installed in Old Town Lafayette, as a way to honor her memory.
Donations for Public Art may be written to: ARTS!Lafayette; PO Box 704; Lafayette, CO 80026. Write Public Art in the Memo line. Donations are tax deductible.