Mural dedication at Glenwood Springs Library about celebrating each other
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – On Monday evening, the 200 or so people who helped with the Great Community Mural Project will gather in front of their work inside the library in Glenwood Springs. Though it might seem that they are celebrating the mural’s unveiling, in truth, they will be celebrating each other.Or at least that is the hope of Renick Stevenson.
“Yes, it is nice to do murals,” he said, from behind his thick, black glasses, “but its primary goal is to get people together, working together.”Stevenson, 73, the artist-in-residence at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, was the driving force behind the project. A painter for nearly seven decades, he has a lifetime of murals behind him. He figures that this most recent mural, which chronicles Glenwood Springs’ past, present and future, is about his 500th piece. The work took about four months to complete, he said, and was only possible with the help of many volunteers, from 18 months to 84 years old.Speaking of his involvement with art and communities, he waved his hands with emotion and kept constant eye contact. He echoed words of wisdom from well-known friends, and admitted he had a knack for tangents. He was unworried, however, about his ability to wax philosophical. It seemed as though he was only concerned with the work. What he’s trying to do, he explained, is just get people involved.”The whole point of all these projects we’ve been doing is getting people to look at where they live,” he said, “and see what they can do to make it better and what they can do to make it worse.”He’s been around long enough, he said, to know how important this is. He gave his life history in disconnected spurts, mentioning those years he spent organizing labor, serving in the military or drinking. Decades ago, he added, he met César Chavez, who inspired him to forge ahead with his work. In more quiet breaths, he spoke of the death of his son and of his failing health. He felt that through all of these experiences he had learned what really matters: community.”The bottom line is, this summer, a bunch of people who didn’t know one another came together and they helped create this amazing, community statement,” he said. “If we can do that – and get all walks of life and all ethnicities together – then we can do anything.”
And no matter who shows up on Monday, his hope is that they take heed of the words painted across the mural, in both English and Spanish.You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone.Contact Stina Sieg: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
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Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com