New mural at Snow Bowl Steamboat puts Steamboat’s love of animals on display

Rory Clow, who came onboard with Western Centers as Creative Director in July, worked to create the mural at Snow Bowl Steamboat that features Steamboat Springs pets.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Steamboat Springs’ newest mural will feature more than 100 submissions from pet owners from across the Yampa Valley, and it will be unveiled during a celebration from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Snow Bowl Steamboat.

“There are over 120 pets on the mural, which is pretty exciting and shows the support that the Routt County Humane Society has in our town,” said artist Rory Clow, who created the mural. “It was a broad submission of animals kind of across a wide demographic of Routt County.”

Julia Hebard, director of marketing and events for the Routt County Humane Society, said the mural project has been in the works for more than a year, and it was free for owners to submit a photograph of their pet for the mural. The organization asked for at least a $25 donation to cover the cost and raise some money for the group’s mission.

The mural raised $3,832, and now the community is invited to be a part of the official unveiling. Snow Bowl and the humane society will host the event, along with the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra. The event is free, but the groups are encouraging a $25 donation to support the humane society and the orchestra.

“We really just want people to be able to come and see the mural, and check it out with some great music, some good food and cocktails,” Hebard said of the celebration. “We really just want everybody to come out and enjoy the evening,”

Clow said the mural is her first, and she is excited to have pet owners come out and find their beloved family member on the display, which was installed overlooking the “Dog Bowl” outdoor area at Snow Bowl.

The original idea was to create a photo collage, but when Clow came onboard, she quickly realized the quality of the photographs varied from owner-to-owner. Some were pixelated and others were too dark.

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“I was new to the team and they said, ‘Is this within your capability to draw something?’” said Clow, who has also designed many of the posters for the summer concerts at Snow Bowl. “I’ve been doing digital art for quite a few years and instantly stepped up and said that I would absolutely love to work on this project.”

So, she went to work with a digital sketch pad using Illustrator. Clow retraced each of the photographs to preserve integrity and likeness of each pet, freehanded missing body parts, added some creative flair with color patches and inserted details to photos where they were missing.

The final product was an illustrator file that Steamboat Sign Company’s Jamin McKee turned into an 8 by 20 foot display that was printed on 4 by 8 foot panels that were adhered to the wall. 

“I would kind of add in some missing pieces to make it all fit together, “ Clow said. “It was time intensive, but also really fun. I think we thought there were fewer pets submitted, then there were … It took quite a few weeks of putting my head down and getting them all drawn up.”

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