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Sugar Beets

Jenna Allen

An eight-and-a-half-year resident of Fort Collins, Jenna Allen is delighted to join Pianos About Town for the first time. Inspired by her discovery of Fort Collins’ history of sugar beet farming, Jenna honors the agricultural workers who came from near and far to cultivate the land into the vibrant community it is today. A colorful pattern of sugar beets pays tribute to this oft-forgotten past.

When I first moved to Fort Collins, I knew that Colorado State University was founded as an agricultural education school, but I had no idea about how much the city relied on the sugar beet crops. It was entirely by accident that one day I drove past the sign for the Museo de las Tres Colonias on Lemay Avenue. When I looked into what that museum actually was, I discovered that there were so many Hispanic and Russian laborers in the sugar beet fields. My design honors these agricultural workers' contribution to the vibrancy and energy of this city. I have foregrounded the sugar beet in my design by representing a single sugar beet in a loosely repeated pattern wrapping around the piano. The play between the blue shading of the sugar beet and the orange outline makes the design vibrate against the neutral background. It's my hope that when passers-by see the piano, they wonder, "What is that plant?" and when they find out it's a sugar beet, they'll discover a part of Fort Collins' history like I did.