Old Town Pub’s new mural memorializes late Steamboat Springs resident
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Salvador Mendoza was known for his fierce charisma and an effervescent spirit. He was a dancer and choreographer in Steamboat Dance Theatre and was heavily involved in Integrated Communities and Rocky Mountain CASA, where he performed as a pro for the local Dancing with the Stars fundraiser.
“His infectious smile brought so much joy to everyone that knew him,” said Rachel Mick, Steamboat Dance Theater dancer, choreographer and board member and Mendoza’s friend. “He was a bright light in the community, always true to himself.”
What: Mural Unveiling Fiesta
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 6
Where: Old Town Pub, 600 Lincoln Ave.
In July 2016, Mendoza took his own life, but his spirit, however, endures.
The week he died, Mendoza’s friends and coworkers held events around town to raise money for funeral expenses and to transport his remains to family in Mexico.
With the funds left over, Steamboat Dance Theatre members led efforts in creating a memorial for Mendoza.
“We wanted to create a visual reminder of his incredible spirit, and everything he taught us in the way he lived his life,” said Danielle Zimmerer, Steamboat Dance Theater dancer, choreographer and board member.
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Emergency line for current clients: 877-886-8192
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To honor Mendoza and his love of dance and Mexican culture, Steamboat Springs artist Fernando Maldonado was commissioned by Mick and Zimmerer to create the large-scale mural as a memorial for Mendoza on the Sixth Street side of Old Town Pub in downtown Steamboat.
A Mural Unveiling Fiesta will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 6 at the Old Town Pub.
“I really had to dig deep with his friends, people he had worked with and people in the LGBTQ community who knew him well to figure out the best way to represent who he was,” said Maldonado, who has created other murals at Mambo Italiano, Townies and Steamboat Smokehouse.
“At first, it was a little overwhelming for me to represent someone who I didn’t really know who was a huge part of the community,” Maldonado said. “I felt like I really had to take a step back and make sure what I’m doing is represented well.”
Initial sketches were completed in February after the artist spoke with Mendoza’s friends and coworkers. Based on those interviews and Maldonado’s research, people consistently mentioned Mendoza’s love of glitter and his desire to shine.
Representing music, dancing and celebration, the Day of the Dead-inspired mural came together in the last two weeks.
“I feel like this mural has formed as a celebration of a person,” Maldonado said. “I feel like a mural affects people. It’s interactive. It sparks something in them — motivates — inspires. I hope this does that.”
The mural also aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention in the Steamboat community.
“This is a gorgeous tribute and highlights the diversity that we have in town,” Zimmerer said. “We hope this inspires others to create work to share with others and shows people the impact that art has on the world.”
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