Ancient Colorado Paintings

Kirk Johnson & Jan Vriesen

Artist Kirk Johnson and Jan Vriesen created a series of ten large paintings that depict the extinct Colorado landscape evolution of our state through the last 500 million years. This installation inspires and encourages visitors to leave the building and explore the region. The scientist and artist worked closely together to create the most accurate time period and representation of each location. The Ancient Colorado paintings are displayed from oldest to most recent accompanied by interpretive panels and a printed prehistoric guide allowing viewers to connect the images with current landscapes and parks. Many of the parks are only short drives from downtown Denver. Over this time frame, Colorado has seen an incredible array of environmental changes from deep seas and alpine glaciers, to tropical rainforests and sandy deserts. This artistic collaboration brings these ancient landscapes to life.

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2022
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