I love murals simply because I find them exceedingly out-of-the-ordinary art pieces that require deep vision than the usual canvas. The locations of the murals are also fascinating to me, displayed on old buildings, under a bridge, alleyways, or even sidewalks. Murals have been in existence since 300 BC, the Middle Ages in France. Later, in more modern days, murals were more in connection with the Mexican art movement. Today mural walls are painted with water or oil-based media, bringing life to spaces that have lost their way.
As a photographer, I enjoy capturing mural images and transform them into prints on canvas. The canvas gives the photograph texture, and typically the art has such intense clarity causing it to stand out, projecting a three-dimensional image. Several of these canvases are on display in my home. Many of our friends and guests often mistaken them for paintings and never thought of them as prints.
Before heading to Colorado Springs, I went on the internet and researched locations to discover murals in this city. One site I found most helpful is Peakradar.com. I knew if I found a few in a general area, I would probably find many more.
HISTORICAL NORTHERN END
Our Airbnb was located in the Historical Northern End, not far from many of the murals I wanted to see in the downtown area. Traveling in front of Colorado College toward West Dale Street, near Colorado Fine Arts Center, are sculptures by different artists displayed on the grounds. In the museum parking lot, behind the sculpture display, a long wall with several murals called Arte Mestiza.
East Dale Street
On East Dale Street, toward N. Webster Street in an alley, we stumbled upon an Indian blanket called “Graffiti Art” by artist Jaque Fragua. The Native American rug patterns from various tribes are designed altogether in this painting which is how Native Americans feel they are identified instead as one and not by tribes.
A few streets over, Tejon Street, heading towards downtown, is where many murals are exhibited. While indulging in a scoop of ice cream from Josh and John’s Naturally Homemade Ice Cream, look up above the store to see a mural on the Burn’s Theater, built-in 1912. Burn’s Theater is home to many opera and theater performances.
On the top of the Giddings & Company building is a large mural telling the story of the once dry goods store Edwin and Hester Giddings started in 1874, serving the Colorado Springs community. In 1898-99 they built the then tallest building in Colorado Springs and its first department store at 101 N. Tejon. The dry goods items on the mural are copies of memorabilia from the department store’s Giddings’ family private archives. The thread and button are an homage to the women of the Pikes Peak Region. Kim Polomka created both the Burn’s Theater and Giddings & Co. murals.
South of Acacia Park is Nevada Street, which is home to Ecumenical Social Ministries. Above the entrance of the building is another mural by Kim Polomka. The mural depicts ESM clients receiving nurturing services and food. Another impressive painting by Polomka is the celebration of Mozart’s 250th birthday,
Mozart's 250th Birthday
Next to the First United Methodist Church is a small building called the Mission Art Center, where you will find a mural depicting the celebration of the creation of the center painted by Amy Jean Jones.
Mission Art Center
Look above Poor Richard’s Bookstore to find a mural created by Douglas Rouse. The image of “Banned Books” throughout history inspired by the owner’s support of intellectual freedom.
BLUE STAR RESTAURANT
On the backside of Blue Star Restaurant is Happy Crowd (challenging to locate) is an optimistic view of cooks, servers, patrons, and others in a restaurant. On the west side of the building is a mural of wine being poured from a bottle, with a vineyard in the background.
Not far from Blue Star Restaurant is Mountain Equipment Recyclers which has a painting of nature and the reason to visit the store created by Amanda Heck. On the south wall of Mountain Equipment Recyclers is a mountain scene with the Colorado flag by Perry Duncan and Will Lancaster.
OLD COLORADO CITY
On Colorado Avenue is West Side Tattoo Shop, with two large murals on both sides of the building. Drake “Drastik” Gann created the Virgin Mary’s religious image and an angel with a white dove as a courtesy of Sacred Heart Catholic Church across the street. This may be one of the most colorful murals I saw during my stay in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs has taken every opportunity to allow and encourage artists to express themselves and create colorful images throughout the community. One thing you may notice is that the traffic signal boxes downtown are also decorated with murals.
Throughout Colorado Springs, you will see that the community supports local artists and values its esthetics by allowing the creative culture to prosper on buildings, bridges, gardens, and so much more. Although I captured incredible photographs of the murals I found, there are a ton more to be seen. I encourage you to explore the arts and marvel at the talent on display throughout the city.
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.
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