An Art Dinner Party

Happy Summer!

First of all I want to let all of you know that Lonnie Hanzon will be speaking in the Mixed Taste Series at the DCPA on July 17th. For more information and to buy tickets go to

And a Big Thanks to those of you that donated to fund this year’s public art work at Denver Pridefest – Stonewall 50: Progress and Reflection.

Stonewall 50: Progress and Reflection - June 15 & 16, 2019

Stonewall 50: Progress and Reflection - June 15 & 16, 2019

One of the best parts of my career - whether working at a museum, running a gallery, or being the Director of The Hanzon Foundation - has always been handling and hanging original art. For me it is like planning the seating chart at a wonderful dinner party. I love to create conversations between the paintings and drawings, finding a common language of color, shape, or form. The best pairings are ones that make a viewer’s eyes travel back and forth between art works. One where you don’t necessarily need to have studied art to see and feel the connections – your eyes see and understand the dialogue they are witnessing.

Here is a very basic example and one that the young students I taught this spring often noticed. (Image 1/Paper Doll Prince & 2/Viatica Contemporania) While the use of Gold is definitely similar in both images, it is typically the divided face topped with a crown peering out of both art works which gets noticed. And when you add that Lonnie started both works using the same technique to gain greater access to his imagination, it makes it even more interesting that similar images repeat themselves. (For more information on this technique go to Projects & Art.)

Of course color is often the most uniting element and one which everyone can discuss and have opinions about. We all choose colors every day to wear, ride in, live in, and sleep in. Sometimes you are drawn to a work of art simply because of the color.

The dark blue, starry backgrounds in these two artworks are practically the same, but it is the additional use of pink and gold sculptural elements which really creates a buzz between the two. Place the warrior figure facing the other image, and you find your own eyes following his gaze to the opposite lower figure. (Image 3/Decorated Warrior & 4/Lighting the Shrine)

Sometimes a work of art can be a bit of a diva! Maybe it is large in scale or powerful in color or composition and it simply needs a little space around it – imagine a multi-lingual Broadway Star entering a room.

This wonderful work by Lonnie is large, much larger than most of the pieces in the From the Chest series and seems to encompass everything that hangs around her.  She can clearly converse with the gold elements, she can speak with the architectural elements, she stands like a true Royal Highness of the wonderful, imaginative land that she rules, and with the sweetest face! (Image 5/Princess)

So look around your own home and see how your art dinner party is going. Are they having engaging and thoughtful conversations with each other? The two artworks that I first discussed are having a lovely chat in my home with an Alexander Calder poster, a drawing by local artist Charles Parson, and a small encaustic by Carolyn Berry. (Image 6)

You too can purchase artwork by Lonnie Hanzon. Click on the button below to see what is available and what would be perfect in your home.

A Good Teacher Can Show You The World

Let me begin by saying

Happy Birthday

to The Hanzon Foundation! 

Our journey as an official Foundation began one year ago today. And like a one year old, we are ready to roam and explore. We are learning to understand our place in the world and to speak our own language!


A major focus of the year ahead is giving back and inspiring the next generation. If you have ever heard Lonnie talk about his life and career, you know it was positively impacted by caring educators. In fact, he often says teachers “saved his life.” I know for me, teachers inspired a shy girl to speak, helped me find hobbies that I still love today, and introduced me to an entire continent of art and culture that spoke to my heart.

Our program, The Artist in my Neighborhood will be in two elementary schools this spring and more next year. Pieces from the series “From the Chest” will be on display at the schools and students will create their own art inspired by Lonnie’s automatic/blind drawing style and other artworks. The young artists are also able to write a card to Lonnie full of questions and comments which will then get a personal response. The Foundation is also hosting a talk for Jefferson County art teachers in April. Lonnie will share “The Grit of Glitter” - stories from his career and the importance of teachers in his life - and introduce them to Immersive Art. (See the Westword article below where Lonnie was interviewed about Immersive Art.) More programming and outreach are in the planning stages for middle and high school grades.

Keep a look out for more information about this years public art piece for Denver PrideFest and other exciting events. Thanks to all of you that donated to our Valentines Project. I was lucky enough to watch kids come in and pick out their box of Valentines - what a lovely and simple way to share the love.

Remember to renew your Membership for the new year or maybe become a Member for the first time.

Happy Birthday Hanzon Foundation! It is has been a great first year!

Shanda Plock

Director of The Hanzon Foundation


A New Year: In Search of Heart

Hello and Happy 2019! If you are like me you are feeling the hopefulness and promise that a new year brings, as well as the frustration and confusion brought about by the state of our democracy.  Because there are many things out of all of our control, I am focusing on the small gifts that we can provide and share with others.  

So let me begin by telling you that my husband has been an elementary school teacher for 27 years – all of them at a small Title 1 school in Lakewood, Slater Elementary.  All three of my children have attended Slater and it is the home school for our neighborhood – both mine and Lonnie and Terry’s.  Title 1 schools are schools where there is a very high number of free and reduced lunch students.  You can imagine many of the needs felt by these students and the challenges that face this type of school. I was surprised a few years ago, however, to discover that many students at Slater are unable to participate in one of the most enduring elementary school traditions – the giving of Valentines cards to their classmates.  Something so tiny and yet so significant.  It is a small act of sharing our love and friendship in a tangible way and one that I have always taken for granted.  When I discovered this and shared this with Lonnie and Terry, we began to donate boxes of Valentines to the school.  The family liaison can keep them on hand and give them out to students that want to participate and share with their friends. 

This year, I am hoping to increase the giving and share Valentines with multiple Title 1 elementary schools.  I have contacted several Family Liaisons at schools in our area and the response has been one of significant gratitude.  One local school has a 95% free and reduced rate of students and many students that are homeless.  

I have set up a link under Membership & Donation (Click here) if you would like to give to our Valentine fund or you can donate by mailing boxes of Valentines to The Hanzon Foundation at 1585 Glen Bar Drive, Lakewood, CO 80215. Please try to buy a variety that suits all ages K-6th grade.  

You will be providing a simple gift but a cherished memory for all of the students that participate.  

This is just the beginning of the type of giving and programming we hope to provide this year. 

The basis of so much of Lonnie Hanzon and Hanzon Studio’s art is love, compassion, and joy. Valentines are a perfect symbol of all of these. (The images below are from the 2018 Public Art Piece - Equal Threshold.)

Thanks so much for your support –

Shanda Plock

Director of The Hanzon Foundation

Transition & Moving Out of Our Comfort Zones

Recently, I have been thinking a great deal about transitions. This is probably due to having a son that is a senior in high school, a daughter in her last year of elementary school, and another daughter that just moved into an apartment. We all grow up, move on, make choices, and hopefully head off in the right direction.

The Hanzon Foundation is also at a point of transition. We were born out of long conversations and many meetings, we have raised money, created projects, promoted events and, on September 12th, held our first Board meeting. It feels good to be at this point and to realize that we really are an actual organization. It is like we just got our driver’s license and we can decide where we want to go and how fast we want to get there. With this reality comes the excitement of making decisions and seeing what the future holds. Transitions should mean something, they should change who you are, push you out of your comfort zone, and into new territory. 

 Many of you may have attended Broken Bone Bathtub, hosted by The Enchantment Society and in the same building where our recent Board meeting was held. We discussed the show at the Board meeting – some had seen it and some were planning to see it – and we shared our thoughts, expectations, apprehensions, and encouraged one another to step out of the all comforting comfort zone.  It is funny in life how events collide, how you are sometimes given exactly what you need when you didn’t even know you needed it. Broken Bone Bathtub feels like that. Siobhan O’Loughlin’s performance challenges us but in an environment that is comforting, warm, bubbly, beautiful, reflective, changing, evolving, and vulnerable. Her openness and humor allow us to reveal ourselves and learn about others. “When was the last time you held someone’s hand?” “Have you ever cried in public?” “Who do you count on or call when you are in need?” Just a few of the questions she asks her audience from her mounds of bubbles.

 As I sit here, leaves are falling from the trees and another transition is occurring.  We at The Hanzon Foundation are planning our next steps, breaking out of our comfort zone, and reflecting carefully on where we have been and where we hope to go.

 And we have a bit of good news! Check out the link below to learn more about the status of Evolution of the Ball. 

Shanda Plock

Director of The Hanzon Foundation


Siobhan O’Loughlin - Broken Bone Bathtub

It's All a Matter of Perspective

As most of you know, The Hanzon Foundation has been in a bit of a battle. Lonnie Hanzon has been forced to defend the integrity and future of his most famous local artwork, Evolution of the Ball.

Click here to read the recent Westword article.

This struggle has highlighted a variety of interesting discussions. What are the rights of a public art artist? Who truly owns a work of art? How do we want public spaces to be? Is progress always best?

Personally, while going through the archives of Evolution of the Ball, I have been reminded of the excitement that surrounded the building of Coors Field. Even if you weren’t a baseball fan, the creation of the stadium completely changed lower downtown and made it a place to be, rather than a scary place to avoid. We felt united in that enthusiasm and for many of us, the public art that was designed for the stadium was the cherry on top of a new delicious sundae. It was the combination of a sports loving town with an arts loving public.

So what has changed? Well, we could blame it on the simple fact that needs, desires, and tastes are constantly in flux and always have been. Our perspectives are constantly evolving. For example, did you know that many people truly hated the Eiffel Tower when it was built? The thought it looked unfinished, and the skeletal and structural aspect we now find iconic, was completely ridiculed. Did you also know that it was originally painted red and may be painted its original color once more? How does that change your perception and feelings about one of the most famous public monuments in the world?  

I came across a letter in the archives that really struck me and brought this changing of perspective to the forefront of my mind. It was a recommendation letter from Thomas J. Gleason for Lonnie Hanzon.  Gleason was the former deputy director of the Denver Metropolitan Stadium District. He states how he was originally concerned about the choice of Lonnie’s sculpture for one of the main entrances to Coors Field; his reason being that fans may have expected something more traditional.  He claims, “To my delight, and to their credit, those baseball fans quickly demonstrated an appreciation for the whimsical element that sculpture added to the Coors Field experience.” He goes on to call it a “magnet” for people all year round. What an incredible example of someone changing their own perspective and seeing through other peoples’ eyes.

Throughout this battle, I have continued to hope that the people in charge of the new development, the Stadium District, and the Rockies would go through a similar transformation. That they would learn about what is at the heart of Evolution of the Ball and the intricate, thoughtful, symbolic design behind every element. Do they know that there are time capsules held within each ball? Have they seen the personal letter from Lucy Arnaz giving permission for her mother’s likeness on the piece? Would that change their perspective and let them see the value of the public sculpture?

As a teacher, one of my favorite moments was when I could watch a student’s thoughts about a work of art change before my eyes. One example is a work by Piet Mondrian. When I first show it to students, they would typically recognize the Mondrian style of primary colors and straight lines.  Many would exclaim how they found this art simplistic and simply “didn’t get it” or any other abstract art. But when I told them the title, Broadway Boogie-Woogie, you could watch the change in their eyes. You could literally see their mind turn those little yellow squares into taxi cabs and their perspective become one of a bird or plane flying high over Manhattan looking down at the bustling streets.

We are still hoping for a change in perspective and for an opening of hearts and minds with Evolution of the Ball. The Foundation will keep you updated on all events via Facebook, this website, and now on Instagram.

Thanks so much to all of you that have aided us in this fight. We are extremely grateful for the donations, Facebook posts, and recommendations.


Shanda Plock

Director of The Hanzon Foundation


Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie-Woogie, 1943

Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie-Woogie, 1943

The Power of Art

It has been an exciting month for The Hanzon Foundation.  We successfully fundraised for the outstanding public artwork, Equal Threshold - a thoughtful, compelling, and timely work at Denver Pridefest.  And we awarded Monica Rocha with the Foundation award at the Trash Fashion Show on June 9th.  Both were incredible events and I was extremely proud to represent the Foundation as a judge at the Trash Fashion Show.  More fun than one can describe in one Blog!!

For more about Equal Threshold and Trash Fashion Show - Click Here.

Thinking about these events, I was once again struck by the power of art and the ability of artists to draw us in as viewers and participants into a dialogue. I taught Art History for 10 years and one story I told my students every new semester was the tale of my first truly engaged experience with art.  I grew up with an art teacher for a Dad so I visited many museums in many cities but my first true memory of being drawn in mind, body, and soul was when I first saw Alexander Calder’s Circus in New York.  If you don’t know the piece, it is a collection of wire, scraps, and found objects melded into a whimsical amazing circus with parts that can be moved to perform individual acts.  Of course the subject matter drew me in as a child, but what really stuck with me was the possibility that art could be anything!  Art could be made out of things from your junk drawer and art can make you smile as well as make you think. 

This all came back to me while I was judging the Trash Fashion Show.  The use of recycled materials, the innovation, the energy, and at times the humor, drew all of us in the audience in. We were amazed by the possibilities!  Surprised how things we consider junk and trash could become beautiful works of art and fashion.  I will never look at a lawn chair, old vhs tapes, or window screens the same way again. Art of any kind, should expand our vision, should delight us, and should make us think, even if we are giggling at a man's bottom seen through the remnants of a plastic lawn chair.  

As an art historian, I began to compare images of Calder’s Circus, to drawings by Lonnie Hanzon. I was struck by the similarity between the way Calder formulates figures with wire and Lonnie Hanzon draws.  The strong, bold lines that undulate and guide our eye around the work and the page are extremely similar which, let’s admit, is funny and surprising.  Comparing a defined, abstract minimalist to the supreme self-proclaimed maximalist seems somewhat absurd.  But the similarities in technique, motivation, sense of humor, and ability to draw us in are there just the same. No wonder both artists are two of my favorites!  You can see some examples of what I mean below.

A huge thank you to everyone that donated to The Hanzon Foundation and participated in this exciting month.  We simply couldn't do it without you!

Shanda Plock

Public Art – A Present for Someone You Have Never Met

As many of you know, if you hang around Lonnie Hanzon long enough you will come away with some wonderful quotes!  One of my favorite is a statement he gave in an interview about his public art work Lakewood Legacy Trees. He equated designing public art to creating a present for someone you have never met. This quote has always stuck with me and it remains at the essence of public art in general and all of Lonnie’s work.  

This month we announce Lonnie’s newest pro-bono public art work, Equal Threshold. This will be a temporary work at Denver PrideFest in June on the 16th & 17th. This is the fourth year that Lonnie and Hanzon Studios have built and created a large scale public work for PrideFest and the purpose behind each piece says a lot about where we are as a country, the status of GLBTQ rights, and the type of “gift” that is produced.

Equal Threshold will not only be visually captivating, it will require intellectual and physical audience participation involving the choosing of doors and a literal step across the thresholds. Participants will become part of the story, joining together in a center space. The concept behind the piece derives from the 1964 Civil Rights Act which is contemporarily connected to the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights CommissionLike Equality Cake, a timely issue drives the choice of art and theme. This leads to another of my favorite Lonnie quotes regarding how an inequality in marriage lead to an inequality in cake. While we all know it isn’t just about cake, cake does hold symbolic value for some of the biggest events in our lives – birthdays, graduations, and marriage -  and it is that shared history of celebration that should be equal for all people.

We are currently raising money for the production of Equal Threshold.

You can make a donation under Membership & Donation, One Time Gift, or if you become a Member your money will also go to the project. Checks can be mailed to The Hanzon Foundation at 1585 Glen Bar Drive, Lakewood, CO 80215.

We have some other big events to tell you about in June:

Trash Fashion Show                   Saturday, June 9th 6-9 pm

Lonnie will be speaking at the Outspoken Speaker series.

Outspoken Speaker Series           Tuesday, June 5th 7:00 pm   

A huge thanks to all of you that have become members and donated to our Foundation.  Your generosity has made the lauch of The Hanzon Foundation a success!

Shanda Plock


A Journey...

Hello and Welcome to The Hanzon Foundation website! We are thrilled to launch our Foundation and we thank you for joining us on this journey.  As the Director of The Hanzon Foundation, I will be posting a monthly blog which will highlight any news or updates about the Foundation.

Recently, I was sitting with Lonnie and Terry and we were reading cards written by members of the Slater Elementary Art Club. I had displayed some pieces From the Chest series at Slater as well as information about Lonnie, Hanzon Studios, and his local public art pieces. Then I gave a presentation at an Art Club meeting where we looked at more of Lonnie's art, watched a short video, and attempted to draw using our left or non-dominant hands and our eyes closed - the same way Lonnie began the images you can see in the From the Chest series. Once we finished, the students were able to write cards to Lonnie, asking questions and commenting on his art. Overall it was a fun, challenging, and exciting experience and one which we hope to bring to other local schools as part of our educational outreach.
Many of the students asked about how Lonnie was able to draw with his opposite hand and where his ideas for his art come from.  One student hoped that Lonnie could decorate his Mom's car and another asked what it was like to be famous! Watching these students explore Lonnie's art and learn about him as an artist reminded me that art is one of the greatest communicators. Each student, in a small window of time, felt the joy of seeing imagery that spurred their imaginations, experienced the emotion of color and line, suffered the struggle of trying something new, and because of art, felt a connection to someone they had never met. When I returned at a later date with Lonnie's replies, the students were ecstatic to receive an answer to their questions and to have something so special, just for them.  
We hope that The Foundation will always bring that amount of joy into the world. Through our outreach and future projects, we strive to communicate, educate, and share the lessons learned by Lonnie and Terry. I have been lucky enough to be a lifelong spectator of Lonnie's creativity, he and Terry's wonderful relationship, and the legacy they hope to leave behind. This is really the foundation of the Foundation! Every epic journey begins somewhere and I am excited to see what path lays before us.
Shanda Plock

Lonnie the clown & me the birthday girl!

June 3, 1975