New mural to showcase historic downtown Glenwood
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – When the Glenwood Springs 125th anniversary committee went looking for a new downtown mural design that would serve as a lasting legacy for the city, one artist’s vision stood out.
The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association is now working with New Castle artist Mary Pilon to raise the necessary funds, through business and individual sponsorships, to make the project a reality.
Pilon’s full-color painting depicts an aerial view from above the Hotel Colorado looking south across the Colorado River, over downtown Glenwood Springs and up the Roaring Fork Valley to Mount Sopris.
She is now busy producing a much more detailed version of that view, including some surprises that are sure to catch a few eyes. The finished work will be placed on the south wall of the Anderson’s Clothing building overlooking Centennial Park, in the form of a 10-by-24-foot sectioned panel mural.
A public unveiling is tentatively planned for late spring or early summer of 2012.
“As part of the 125th anniversary celebration last year, we wanted to leave behind a legacy project of some sort,” Chamber President and CEO Marianne Virgili said.
“The committee determined that it wanted a mural in a very visible downtown location to serve as that lasting legacy,” she said.
The owner of the Anderson building, David Daniels, was contacted and agreed to work with the committee to select an appropriate design. Pilon’s painting ended up being the overwhelming choice.
“The painting will include incredible detail of Glenwood Springs and the buildings along the downtown corridor,” Virgili said. “I think it will be an absolutely beautiful addition to our downtown.”
Pilon, whose paintings have been featured in galleries from New Castle to New York City, said the job of turning her small-scale painting into a fully detailed, large-scale mural has been a huge undertaking.
On top of that, she is working with the Chamber and the Glenwood Springs Downtown Partnership to raise the estimated $20,000 to $25,000 necessary to complete the project.
To date, she has about $16,000 in grants and sponsorships. That includes $7,000 from the joint city of Glenwood Springs and Garfield County funds for public art projects, and $2,500 from the downtown partnership.
Sponsorships of $1,000 and up (Team Gold), $500-$1,000 (Silver) and $250-$500 (Bronze) will warrant recognition on a plaque that will be displayed along with the mural.
Much of the detail work in the mural painting will also honor sponsors, such as the tram cars running up Iron Mountain to the Glenwood Caverns, Pilon said.
“It’s a lot of work to detail it out,” she said of windows and building architecture that’s being included in her work.
“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. “I love being able to give back to the community and be a part of the community spirit in this way.”
Tom Fleming, who is program manager for the downtown partnership, also said the mural will be the perfect addition to downtown Glenwood Springs.
“In my opinion, if there’s a big blank wall anywhere outside, it’s a good spot for a mural,” Fleming said. “This will be a good amenity for our downtown.”
Because the mural will be painted on sign board panels, rather than on the brick wall itself, it could also be relocated in the future if need be, he said.
“That way if a new property owner didn’t want it for some reason, we wouldn’t lose this piece of art,” Fleming said.
In addition to her artistic paintings, Pilon also has her own commercial painting business, Fine Art of Faux Finishing. She specializes in interior and exterior faux work, such as marbleizing, wood graining, wood touch-up, glazing and plaster faux.
For mural sponsorship information, Pilon can be reached at 984-3203, or contact the Glenwood Springs Chamber at 945-6589.
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