The Mural Project of Colorado Springs is a 501c4 organization that focuses on utilizing community art projects to promote healing, exploration, involvement and education of at risk community members. To date, we have completed several projects: (to view images from these events, visit our media page)
A unique community art project occurred at Mountain Living Studios Gallery in Manitou Springs. In January, 2013, business owner, Bianca Trenker, used social media to solicit artists to develop a piece of art for the outside of her historic building. She wasn't even sure she could afford it, as the previous retail season in Manitou Springs was dismal due to the Waldo Canyon fire. The response she got was not quite what she expected.
Jennifer Ryan, a friend of Trenker, suggested a local prominent artist named Lance Green to design and paint a mural..... but, with a twist. The twist that Ryan proposed was to involve the at-risk youth that Green teaches at Bemis School of Art at the FAC. The kids are in a program at Griffith Centers for Children, which is a detention center for kids with a criminal history who are too young to be incarcerated. Her idea was to involve the kids in a positive, permanent piece of history that would allow them to paint a personal portion of the mural. This idea was received with enthusiasm by Tara Thomas, Director or Education at Bemis and by Kathy Stults, Principal at Griffith Centers. And a unique, first time project in Manitou Springs was born.
Green designed and presented a mural mock-up to Trenker and with much excitement, arranged for a handful of kids from Griffth Centers to arrive at Mountain Living Studios and begin painting. The painting commenced on March 8 and was unveiled on March 15, in time for a spring event planned at Mountain Living Studio Gallery. The unveiling was a community celebration, with local politicians, business owners, media, the youth artists and community members in attendance. The unveiling celebration was an emotional event, as each youth artist got a chance to explain in their own words the significance of working on the project.
All three individuals involved in the project are no strangers to childhood issues, Ryan adopted a daughter out of the Russian orphanage system, Trenker and Green each survived difficult childhoods and all three recognize that art is a healing medium.
My goal, says Ryan, is that this project will generate awareness of the wonderful work that Bemis and Griffith Centers for Children does for our at-risk youth in the community. The progam at Bemis exists on donations and grants. Perhaps other businesses will be inclined to engage in similar projects with The Mural Project of Colorado Springs, make donations to the programs, and the community as a whole can benefit. And last but not least, maybe we can change the course of a child's life for the better.
The Mural Project of Colorado Springs was contracted by Seeds Community Café’, a pay-as-you can concept that brings local, organic foods cooked in healthy ways to all community members, regardless of ability to pay for the meal.
We designed/painted signage and murals. At-risk community partners for the Seeds project were One Nation Walking Together, kids from Title VII Native Indian and Native Alaskan Education Program at School District 11 and kids from Community Partnership for Child Development, aka Head Start.
The murals and signage are on display at the Café’.
With support from staff at Bemis School of Art, we designed a unique, interactive mural project with the community entitled Liber’ez L’Art. Community members participated in painting of one of two separate “identité secrète” murals.
The First mural, entitled “Coup De Main” involved participants having their hands painted with colors of their choice and imprinting hand prints onto a canvas laid out in the street.
The Second mural, entitled “Deux Pieds” involved participants having the bottoms of their bare feet painted and imprinting foot prints onto a canvas laid out in the street.
The participants were told that the canvases were going to be transformed into a final mural concept. They were encouraged to attend October Family Day at the Bemis School of Art at the Fine Arts Center for a community unveiling celebration to see the final presentation pieces. The murals are now available on loan for a traveling “Libe’rez L’Art” exhibit and have been selected to be displayed in an art show at the City of Colorado Springs Administration Building.
This project was unique and had not been done in our community previously. The recycled material we used for the mural is a fiber-based house insulation, which is the first time a large mural has been completed with the material.
One of a kind murals are being professionally designed for, and will then be painted on, by the Wounded Ego warriors. The images are powerful, yet inspiring and each warrior who chooses to participate will paint a personalized portion of the larger mural. An additional, separate mural will be designed for children, families and caretakers of wounded, deployed or fallen soldiers upon which they can leave their painted handprint. The murals will then be unveiled at the Wounded Warriors Project offices for their tenth anniversary celebration, will be included in the local Veteran's Day Parade and will then travel for display to specific areas. Our goal is to develop a nationwide project and to travel to Washington D.C. and commemorate a celebration of our wounded warriors and injured vets.
Project Wounded Ego is a group of Wounded Warriors who are exceptional photographers that offer photography services for wounded warriors. This is a style of photography in which the photographer captures the wounded warrior doing three main things;
2) Bonding with other Warriors
3) Doing activities they normally would not do at home
The photos create a sense of self-worth, self-efficacy and a sense of accomplishment for the warriors photographed. Project Wounded Ego also started a sled hockey team as a positive outlet for emotions and to develop comradery.