Oct 152007
Authors: Ashley Emmons

Graffiti has long covered the drab, brick walls of the Old Town building Steele’s Market once inhabited. Since the building was abandoned, only boarded up windows and vacant rooms have occupied the corner of Mountain Avenue and Howes Street – until today.

An advanced painting class, made up of 15 CSU students, finished painting a 7-foot-tall-by-52-foot-long mural on the north side of the former Steele’s Market in a dual effort with the Bohemian Foundation to combine artistic expression and community service.

Kaia Christensen, senior art major with a concentration in painting, said the mural is about promoting school spirit.

“We are bringing art to the community and connecting CSU and Fort Collins,” Christensen said.

The mural is a collaboration of sketches depicting school spirit, the Fort Collins community, the Rocky Mountains, Horsetooth Rock and other Colorado landscapes.

Daryl Luter, senior art major with a concentration in painting, said the mural also has an emphasis in sports.

“We are promoting football and sports and showing the athletic side of CSU,” Luter said.

Patrice Sullivan, professor of the art class, said the idea initially came from the Bohemian Foundation.

“The foundation sent an e-mail out to the chairman asking if he knew anyone who would be interested in the project,” Sullivan said. “He sent it on to me and I got the ball rolling.”

The Bohemian Foundation donated all of the supplies and members of the foundation also painted the walls white before the students started in on the mural.

Bill Dingwall, senior graphic design major, said the wall was tagged with graffiti before the mural was painted.

“It was an eye soar,” Dingwall said. “We took that away and made it look better.”

The mural also serves as part of a larger community service project, called service learning, for the art class, said Sullivan.

“I try to factor it into classes because it takes students and gives them experience outside of the studio,” Sullivan said. “It gives them different incites on what it is to be a painter.”

The class began painting the mural three and a half weeks ago. The subject matter of the mural was an idea created through the combined effort of every one in the class.

“Everyone submitted drawings and sketches,” Christensen said. “Then the foundation gave us feedback about what they wanted it to look like.”

The mural was finished Monday, but the students are waiting for the weather to get better to put a coat of sealant on it.

Reporter Ashley Emmons can be reached at news@collegian.com

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