As artist Mauricio Ramirez wraps up his mural in downtown Burlington today — and let’s just say it’s a dynamic and stunning achievement visible behind Bella’s House on display for Webb Avenue traffic — I thought it might be a good idea to look at how a mural can help define a downtown area as creative, artistic, entertaining and fun.
But first, here are a few images from the mural created by Ramirez and completed in a little more than a week. Here are links to two previous stories about it. Read one here. And read the second one here. Now a photo gallery of what he’s created. Feel free to click on any of the photos in the three galleries in this post for better looks.
First of all, this is an outstanding start to a three-mural project created via a grant to the Burlington Downtown Corporation. But it’s just a start. In walking around downtown a few days ago I could envision potential murals in at least a dozen sites just in the Front and Davis Street areas alone. As downtown works toward becoming the city’s hub for entertainment, art, dining, making and innovation it stands to reason that murals are an important way to advertise it.
Earlier this month my wife Roselee and I traveled to Denver for a short vacation. We wanted to visit the Rocky Mountains, do some hiking, explore the downtown area and take in a baseball game. We found an eclectic and vibrant downtown bursting with restaurants, breweries, food halls, retail shopping, art galleries — even a pedestrian mall that goes on for blocks and is actually successful.
Know what else Denver has? Murals, lots and lots of murals. Here is just a sample of murals we saw in the lower downtown area they call LoDo.
Most of the murals in lower downtown in Denver appear to be commissioned art but a handful were sought by the businesses there. And note that two aren’t really murals but public art that makes a utility box on a city street much more interesting.
In the River North district of Denver something very intriguing was going on when we were there. We were visiting a food hall (yes, a food hall — more on that in another post) and as I was standing in line a guy turned and asked if we had “checked out the alleys yet?” I was puzzled until he explained that it was the last day of an annual mural festival in River North, an area locals call RiNo. For 10 years muralists from Colorado and all over the nation have converged in September to create memorable images. The name of the festival is Crush Walls. It draws a large crowd and the artists engage with the public while they work. Here’s a look.
Murals — and public art — offer great opportunities to enhance downtown areas. And Denver has obviously benefited. Burlington could use a little of that kind of creative thinking.