A significant change is coming to downtown Evergreen to showcase public art with a purpose. Over the next few weeks, CenturyLink’s pumpkin-colored brick building will become the canvas for a colorful, large-scale mural created by local resident and acclaimed artist Chris Krieg and his Altitude Murals team. The Leadership Evergreen Class of 2022 is the catalyst for the project designed to promote beautification, community engagement, personal reflection, and greater awareness of mental health challenges.
The metamorphosis of the building’s exterior will feature an iconography of images depicting opportunity, growth, hope and resilience for those traveling through life’s personal and universal journeys. The mural’s doors represent access to potential and learning, light symbolizes positivity and hope, magpies signify resilience and the ability to move through adversity, and butterflies the concept of transformation.
“The Flight of Our Lives” mural came to fruition after a series of projects were considered by the LE class members. The group was passionate about expanding awareness of mental health struggles as well as beautifying downtown Evergreen. The result was an artistic expression of a meaningful message with broad impact.
Patty Delucas, LE Class of ’22, was a leader on the mural design team. “From the start, we wanted to incorporate a mental health theme that spoke to a diverse group of people, realizing that every person’s journey is unique,” she said. “We wanted to incorporate timeless images inspiring hope, healing, wellness and connection. We also wanted to provide concrete resources in the alcove for people to access privately.”
Nationwide, Colorado ranks 30th when it comes to having sufficient resources to assist the number of individuals dealing with mental health issues, according to Mental Health America’s 2023 State of Mental Health in America Report. Our state ranks sixth in the number of deaths by suicide, according to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Resilience1220, an Evergreen-based nonprofit, was started in response to the teen suicide rate. “We provide barrier-free services to youth who are facing ‘complete overwhelm’ in a world of social media and global conflicts,” said the group’s executive director, Annie Cooley. “The biggest thing our community can do is to give young people the chance to be heard.”
Cooley believes that public art can be an excellent conversation starter. “The metaphor of transformation in the butterfly prompts conversation. It can help break down the stigma of mental health and be a reminder of how powerful connection and community are,” she said.
When it came time to select experienced, professional muralists to tell the story of hope and resilience, Krieg’s team was the clear choice. Along with his son, Will, an Evergreen High School graduate and accomplished artist, Chris launched Altitude Murals to craft large-scale wall signs and murals. Designer David Russell, who also attended Evergreen High School, played a significant role in creating the renderings for the downtown mural.
An Artist’s Dream Come True
Being chosen to install a mural in his hometown is a dream come true for Krieg.
“For 30 years, I’ve driven by the CenturyLink building and thought what a perfect place for a mural, but then realized all of the logistics that would be involved in bringing it about,” said Krieg. “I tip my hat to Leadership Evergreen for undertaking such a huge project. It’s fun to see people put their best effort forward and make something nice for the community we love so much.”
Krieg expects that the new mural will be viable for at least the next three decades. A specialized paint formulation will be applied directly to the existing brick facade of the building along with clear coat, resulting in a graceful aging process.
“I see it as the gateway to Evergreen,” said Krieg. “It’s a dynamic design that allows you to discover new elements each time you view it. Its big, bright, bold features can be interesting both at an intimate level and at a distance.”
CenturyLink and its corporate team at Lumen Technologies have been pivotal partners in negotiating an agreement to make the mural a reality. The company was receptive to the proposal from the start, having supported mural installations on several of its buildings across the country, including structures in Carbondale, CO and Tallahassee, FL.
Funding partners have stepped up in a big way to bring the mural to life. Nancy Judge, LE Class of ’22 and President of the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, led the mural’s fundraising committee. She is impressed by the response of individual, business and nonprofit donors.
“Our funders donated with excitement and enthusiasm, seeing the mural as a centerpiece for downtown Evergreen,” Judge said. “From the Chamber’s standpoint, we think the mural will become a reason for people to visit Evergreen.”
The project has garnered $50,000 in pledges. The Evergreen Downtown Business Association, Evergreen Legacy Fund, Evergreen Rotary and the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce are among the groups that have contributed. A generous matching donation has come from an employer of a LE class of ’22 member, resulting in an additional $10,000 contribution.
Major project donors will be recognized on a custom-designed plaque that will be installed in the front alcove of the building. The alcove will also serve as an area of engagement where visitors can download a QR Code directing them to mental health resources, more detailed information on the making of the mural, and a complete list of all those whose contributions made the project a reality. The alcove design will complement the larger mural above, creating harmony between the two components.
Saraben Turner, also a member of the LE Class of ’22 and its design committee, feels a personal connection to the mural. “My daughter is obsessed with art, so the thought of her getting to see this being painted and understanding the message behind it—that’s what truly matters to me,” she said. “I take pride in the mission to use art to reach people and the idea that it has the potential to impact so many.”
Class of 2022: