Longtime New Castle artist Mary Pilon leaves local mark following her recent death in South Carolina
Freelance artist Mary Pilon, whose public murals grace the downtowns of both New Castle and Glenwood Springs, died Sept. 2 after a battle with cancer while living in South Carolina. She was 69.
Pilon’s iconic townscape mural on the side of the Anderson Building next to Centennial Park at Ninth Street and Grand Avenue was completed as a Glenwood Springs 125th anniversary project in 2012.
The 10-by-24-foot mural was inspired by a painting of Pilon’s, which she then pieced together in paneled sections into the large image that exists today.
It’s a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike, who can often be seen trying to pick out some of Glenwood’s historic landmarks among the details within the aerial view over the city from north to south, with Mt. Sopris in the distance.
“Mary left long-lasting evidence that she lived and loved western Colorado,” wrote friend Bethany Rose in a memorial tribute. Pilon had been staying with Bethany and Larry Rose in Wagener, S.C. prior to her death.
Another of her public murals is on the side of the New Castle Community Center, in the town she called home for much of her time in the Roaring Fork Valley since the 1980s.
“The New Castle mural gives the passerby the illusion that it is moving with you,” Rose describes. “She felt such a genuine rapture for the mountains, valleys, rivers, forests and landscapes, as well as the animal and birdlife in the area.”
Pilon was also in high demand for her interior and exterior faux finishing and interior murals, Rose said. Her works were also chosen by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association for its annual greeting cards.
“She is best known for her renditions of Mt. Sopris, which are in many of her art collections,” Rose said. “Not a day would go by without Mary noticing that there were so many small miracles to behold.”
Even the flower beds outside her home were something to behold, she said.
Many of the details in the Glenwood Springs mural painting honored sponsors of the project, including the tram cars running up Iron Mountain to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
“It’s a lot of work to detail it out,” Pilon said in a September 2011 interview with the Post Independent — right down to the ornate windows and building architecture.
“I’ve even added the Hotel Glenwood at its original location, before it burned down in 1945,” she said. “There are also some old cars from the 1940s and ’50s in there, and you’ll be able to recognize some notable people, like [Teddy] Roosevelt.”
Roosevelt visited Glenwood Springs on his frequent hunting expeditions during his presidency in the early 20th Century.
“It will be a lot of fun for people to look at and see what’s all in there, kind of a ‘where’s Waldo’ sort of thing,” Pilon said at the time. “I love being able to give back to the community and be a part of the community spirit in this way.”
Pilon’s obituary can be found on the memorials page of Blizzard Funeral Home in Wagener.
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Some 30 years ago, artist Jack Roberts picked up a ringing phone and quickly grew vocal over a request for hire made by a prominent Parachute couple to paint a historical depiction.