Midtown Cafe buys sculptures from local artist

Local artist John Henley made Sunrise to Sunset for Midtown Cafe. This is one of two works by Henley that the cafe has installed along their west wall.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

Agate Avenue received a new splash of color on June 10. The Midtown Cafe has installed two sculptures by local artist John Henley on the west side of their building. Funding for this public art came from Colorado Main Street: open for business program.

Granby selected Grand Construction Associates as the contractor for Main Street-funded projects in 2021. Owner Barry Young led the art buying process at the cafe, according to Midtown Cafe co-owner Candice O’Connor.

“We were talking about new signs and he said, ‘You know, this wall needs something, you know, it just needs something,'” O’Connor said. “It was mostly Barry (Young) who brought it all to fruition.”

O’Connor said Young knew Henley and asked him what would look good against the cafe wall. Henley, owner Drawings by John Henley in Granby, had previously constructed a sculpture titled Euclid’s Dream as part of a series of sculptures based on repetitive geometric shapes.

Euclid’s Dream by John Henley stands outside the Midtown Cafe in Granby. Henley made it as part of a series of geometric sculptures.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

“There are 20 to 30 (of) the same quad that are put together and integrated into this piece,” Henley said. “Euclid was the father of modern geometry, so here’s your pun.”

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 the holes in the background.

A few locals told O’Connor they liked the sculptures, and she said colorful art like this can do a lot for the city.

“It amazes me what the color did,” O’Connor said. “It’s just a steel building. There’s nothing fancy about it, so it’s good to have your dressing room on it, to have the extra.

The Main Street: Open for Business project will fund further improvements to the Midtown Cafe’s facade, such as signage and a fresh coat of paint on the exterior. While the west side with the carvings already has new paint, the east side has been given the wrong color and will be redone.

Henley appreciated O’Connor and her husband, the other co-owner of the Midtown Cafe, for using public art to brighten up the city for locals and passers-by. He pointed out that local business owners, not the city or an art committee, made room for the art.

“They were ready to do that and branch out,” Henley said. “An abstract expressionist sculpture is not exactly what Granby is famous for. I think it’s taking (a) risk.