Wandering the streets of West Colfax is hardly a colorless experience, what with all those neon signs, cruising automobiles, and oddball but interesting characters (and trust me, I’m one of them). If you’ve wandered recently though, you’ve noticed new creative endeavors on the sides of buildings, beautifying both your physical and your creative path, and setting your wandering mind to well, wandering.
We speak to Business Improvement District Executive Director Bill Marino about the medium of art titled – The Mural.
The first thing anyone needs to know when we start talking about murals is the COLorFAX program. That was a joint conversation between WCCA (West Colfax Community Association) and 40W Arts. It’s all about [bringing] color and noticeable difference to the corridor, and we can do that through art, large-scale art. The big strategy is, if we create enough murals, that it becomes an outdoor art gallery; it pulls people here to see them, just because they’re here. In a few years, we could have 15-20, even 30, 40 murals. How cool is that? You can ride your bike, take a walk, drive, and come enjoy an outdoor art gallery.
Murals are seen and shared by an entire community. How do you pick a successful design?
We wanted to speak to the community in some way, and connect with the community in some way. Our creative briefs say that, but allow for the [artist] interpretation of being bold or subtle. We are looking to inspire, uplift, and entertain. We’re not looking yet, to push up against the limits or challenge.
Tell me about the first COLorFAX project.
The first design on King’s Rest Motel was volunteer-driven, modest money. Artist Johanna Parker penciled in the design the day before, and 18 or 19 people showed up, followed her sketch, and then she and [artist] Lonnie Hanzon did the detail work. The cost was modest because it was all volunteer, we had paint donated by Kwal Paints, and some of the other cost was donated by the BID (Business Improvement District) as an investment in improving the corridor.
What about the mural ‘Hear the Train A Humming’ by Bobby MaGee Lopez?
Astro Supply Building [where the mural is located] was executed with CGBD funds; those are federal funds that are allocated to cities to accomplish certain things, grants in place for community development. This was specifically a graffiti-mitigation strategy. That wall gets tagged all the time, and we’ve had great success where we’ve put up murals, they’ve never been touched. So we got a certain allocation from the city and there was a Call for Artists. And when we do a call, [artists] come in with their concepts, they present their concepts, and the committee makes a decision.
What additional projects are currently in progress?
We also have a mural project underway at The Action Center [a non-profit human services agency]. The Call for Artists reads ‘The Action Center is expanding its headquarters, and this mural project is designed to create an iconic ‘landmark’ mural for the community, while embodying [our] mission of providing an immediate response to human needs and promoting pathways to self-sufficiency.”
Check out additional pictures and relevant links below!
Artist Johanna Parker: http://www.johannaparkerdesign.com
Artist Bobby MaGee Lopez: http://www.bobbymageelopez.com
Artist Martha Pinkard-Williams: https://www.facebook.com/martha.pinkardwilliams
Photography Richard Eversley (Action Center Mural), 40W Arts District (King’s Rest and Astro Supply Building)