Mikaela Shiffrin-inspired art piece will find a place of honor in Avon Town Hall

Zoe Goldstien
Vail Daily
Avon Town Hall's newest art piece, entitled "Going for the Gold" and created by painter Jodi "Shen" Goldman-Hallford, features Mikaela Shiffrin during her gold medal-winning race in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Zoe Goldstein/Vail Daily

A new art piece is going up in Avon Town Hall. The piece, titled “Going for the Gold,” features artist Jodi “Shen” Goldman-Hallford’s reimagination in paint of Mikaela Shiffrin during the run that made Shiffrin the youngest gold medal winner in the slalom during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Shen, an EagleVail resident at the time, painted the piece at Beaver Creek’s restaurant The Metropolitan. “I was just so impressed with her fortitude, and her work ethic, and just going for it,” Shen said of Shiffrin. “I was so proud, when I took my children to the park, I would always meet people that knew her,” she said.

This summer, Shen reconnected with Avon’s cultural arts and special events manager, Danita Dempsey, at the Art on the Rockies fair in Edwards, and pitched Dempsey the piece. Avon Town Hall, located at 100 Mikaela Way, seemed like the perfect home for the painting. “The look and feel is a very contemporary, modern spin on a traditional subject. I think that’s what makes this piece super unique,” Shen said.

Though initially dubious, Dempsey was sold the minute she saw the painting, which features neon colors, the Olympic rings and snowflakes. “I was like ‘yes, I have the perfect place for that,’ with the black tile that we have here, in the council chambers. It was perfect,” Dempsey said.

Shen’s painting is the first art piece within Avon’s Town Council chambers, and joins a collection of art in town hall. “Most of the rest of the art that we have in town hall is photography that we’ve collected over the years that works well in our space, so mountain landscapes, event photos, things that speak to the culture and who we are,” Dempsey said. Dempsey is working on expanding Avon’s temporary art program, which grew 300% from 2021 to 2022, according to Dempsey.

Shen’s background as an artist includes being, by her accord, the first female graffiti artist on the West Coast. “There were boys doing it, and I was like, ‘I can do that,'” Shen said. “They used to tell me I was ‘good for a girl,'” she said. She started spraying paint in the ’80s, and still uses similar techniques in her art today. The acrylic “Going for the Gold” was partially painted with airbrushing.

Shen, who now lives in Spring, Texas, lived in Eagle County for ten years, raising her children and participating in the local art scene. “I did the Pro Cycling Challenge, (chalk art at) the starting line … I did the first two art battles for Beaver Creek. I have a lot of history here. (It was a) really special time in my life,” Shen said. After learning to ski through the Homestake Peak School, Shen’s daughter taught Shen, a snowboarder, to ski.

Though Shen has since moved away, Eagle County will always have a piece of her heart, making it all the more special that her art will have a place in the heart of Avon. “I’m so glad that my work could be in a town that is a very special place for me, one that I call home,” Shen said.

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