Flower installation at South Boulder King Soopers an ode to community spirit

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Flowers in various shades of pink, orange, red and purple painted a sunrise over the fence outside the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive, creating something beautiful and peaceful in an area that many think of feelings of anxiety and grief.

The South Boulder grocery store and community center was the site of a mass shooting on March 22 in which 10 people died. In the face of tragedy, many feel inclined to do something. This is certainly how Tara Huston and Ali DeJohn felt.

Erin Pierce, of Eldorado Springs, lays flowers on the Boulder Strong Tribute installation on the King Soopers fence on Table Mesa Drive Thursday in Boulder. (Matthew Jonas / Personal photographer)

Huston, owner of local flower shop Fawns Leap, and DeJohn, owner of creative retreat space The Makerie, decided to give back in the best way they knew how: to create an ode to all flowers, cards and trinkets that people left behind. outside the fence around the store in the days following the shooting.

“We wanted (to find) ways to honor the seriousness and the sadness that is here, but also to use flowers, hopefully, to bring some joy, lift our hearts a little, and start engaging with it. space in a different way, ”Huston said.

The duo created a small impromptu flower installation on Pearl Street Mall in the days following the shoot.

The current floral installation is on the fence section on the west side of the King Soopers parking lot and will remain in place until Sunday. People are encouraged to stop and pick up a flower to share with a loved one or a stranger.

Edward Rowen and Susan Short were among those who stopped by on the first day of the facility’s opening to the public. Rowen left the King Soopers pharmacy on March 22, minutes before a gunman entered the store and killed 10 people.

“It was closer than you would like for anyone,” said Short.

On Friday, Jan Czech, left, and his sister-in-law Vicki Czech find a flower to offer at the Boulder Strong flower installation at 3600 Table Mesa Road, Friday. The installation, created by Tara Huston, was created from more than 7,000 flowers donated by King Soopers and will be on display until Sunday. (Kira Vos / Camera Special)

Residents of South Boulder walked to the flower installation. They spent time admiring its beauty and each took a flower to offer to the neighbors.

Likewise, Cam Low, from Boulder, stopped by Thursday to spend a moment among the flowers, outside the grocery store where she grew up shopping.

“It’s a reality check of what happened here,” said Low, holding an orange blossom.

It was weird going back to the grocery store, but Low said the setup was beautiful, a fitting tribute where people didn’t leave an offer but instead took something to pass on. Low planned to give the flower to his mother.

When the grocery store reopens later this year, Eldorado Springs resident Erin Pierce will be the first to return.

Pierce volunteered to help put together the art installation on Wednesday, and it gave him a sense of peace to create something positive outside of where something horrible happened.

“It’s really beautiful,” she said. “It’s a little thing we could all do.”

Plus, she loved the concept, the fact that it was inspired by the sunrise and that people were invited to come and deconstruct it naturally.

“It’s a symbol of community and unity,” said Pierce.

A photographer took a photo of the flower installation, and it will be reproduced on the fence after it is fully removed on Sunday. It will remain there for the duration of construction at the grocery store and will be sized to scale, said Mandy Vink, head of the Boulder public art program.

Flowers for the installation were donated by King Soopers.

As volunteers worked on creating the installation on Wednesday, someone across the street shouted, “This is beautiful!

“This is what we are looking for – to bring joy and pleasure to a place where something deeply sad and tragic has happened,” Huston said.

Longtime South Boulder resident Robert Stuenkel takes a photo of Boulder Strong’s flower installation at 3600 Table Mesa Road on Friday. (Kira Vos / Camera Special)


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