Youth mural-painting project aims for a connection of cultures |

Youth mural-painting project aims for a connection of cultures

CARBONDALE, Colorado – A collaboration between two valley arts organizations will bring noted Denver artist and children’s book illustrator Tony Ortega to Carbondale this weekend for a unique public mural-painting project.

Children ages 8 and up are invited to join Ortega in Sopris Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for the free, hands-on workshop.

Project sponsors, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, are particularly reaching out to local Latino youth and their families to participate in the project.

“We have a lot of Anglo kids who want to be involved, but we would really love to have more Latino kids involved and make this a real community project,” CCAH Executive Director Ro Mead said. “It’s a real treat that these kids will get to paint with Tony for free.”

Ortega is known for his children’s book illustrations, pastel drawings and community mural projects. He is currently an assistant professor at Regis University, and has shown his artwork in numerous exhibitions and has worked at the Denver Art Museum.

He is scheduled to teach a workshop at Anderson Ranch next week and agreed to facilitate the mural project in Carbondale.

“Anderson Ranch and CCAH see this as a pilot partnership for future multi-ethnic and youth-oriented art events in the community,” according to a press release.

Ideas for the project were gathered in advance from some of the participating youth, from which Ortega will develop a design and theme.

The mural will be created on several 4-by-8 foot plywood panels, which will eventually be installed on the outside wall of the Carbondale Recreation and Community Center. The painting portion of the project will be completed this weekend, and the panels will be on display during the Carbondale Mountain Fair next weekend.

“Having renowned artist Tony Ortega visit is a wonderful opportunity to connect Mexican and American ideas and culture through art,” reads the press release about the project. “Tony is a widely recognized artist with a true appreciation for migrant culture, having illustrated a series of children’s books about a Chicano boy.”

Ortega is also bilingual and works frequently with multi-ethnic populations.

He believes that “art belongs to everyone and the mural process encourages participants of different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to collaborate, develop friendships, and learn from each other while developing their art skills.”

For more information about Tony Ortega, visit, and for more information about this weekend’s mural-painting workshop call CCAH at 963-1680.

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