New mural aims to bring the great outdoors to downtown Steamboat |

New mural aims to bring the great outdoors to downtown Steamboat

Steamboat Springs mural artist Fernando Maldonado was commissioned to create the large-scale mural as a memorial for Salvador Mendoza on the Sixth Street side of Old Town Pub. Steamboat Creates is now working to add to downtown's mural collection. Artists are invited to submit proposed drawings for a great outdoors-themed mural on the Straightline Sports building at 744 Lincoln Ave. (File photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One wall in downtown Steamboat Springs will get an upgrade this summer; it’s the one on the Straightline Sports building at 744 Lincoln Ave. This wall is the latest target of Steamboat Creates’ Mural Project, which identifies blank walls downtown that could potentially house public art.

“Anytime we find a new ‘canvas’ wall, we work with the building owners, look at our current collection and talk with our board and staff to discuss what’s missing, what would be interesting and what is appropriate,” explained Kim Keith, executive director of Steamboat Creates.

The theme for this mural is “The Great Outdoors,” and applicants are encouraged to submit ideas that are interactive or humorous in nature.

“One thing we would like to see in some mural designs is something that makes you chuckle, so you tell your friends, family or visitors,” Keith said. “We want people to seek out that location and have a positive experience with public art.

Public art is meant to be memorable — whether it is funny, interactive, educational, inspiringly beautiful or provides an authentic image of Routt County,” Keith added.

Applications for the new mural are due May 10. Then, a jury, typically comprised of fund advisers, a representative from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Steamboat Creates board representatives who are on the public art task force, the city planning director or department representative, Mainstreet Steamboat and the building owner or tenant, will choose the final design.

This mural will add to a collection of about 20 murals on downtown walls. Some murals involve landscape or nature-inspired scenes, while others bring a historical perspective, and one is intended for visitors to take selfies in front of.

“One of our most successful and notable murals is the simple, yet beautiful design of the angel wings on the building that houses Kali’s Boutique and is adjacent to Bank of the West,” Keith said. “People literally flock to that location to have their photo taken interacting with the wings.”

That mural was done by Jeff Roth in 2016 and is cited as one of the most successful murals in Steamboat to date, meaning it has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the public in the past five years.

The main goal of the mural project, Keith said, is to offer an unique perspective into the world.

“It is often a window into the artist’s perspective of their everyday experiences in nature, in our community and in things that inspire them by living or visiting this area,” she said.

Additionally, public art creates an outdoor gallery for everyone to see, adding to the cultural value, the aesthetics and the vitality of the area, Keith explained.

“Murals and public art enhance the quality of life for our residents and visitors,” she said. “It promotes the knowledge that this town, this county, this region has deep cultural roots, frequent creative activities and an additional artistic aspect to our identity people might not be aware of.”

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