College students work with Denver artist to create downtown Longmont mural – Longmont Instances-Name


As the snow melted around them Friday afternoon, young artists worked with Denver muralist Austin Zucchini-Fowler to transform the back of a downtown Longmont business into a colorful and interactive mural.

The mural (name in progress) will consist of several sets of wings painted on a colorful backdrop on the west side of Brown’s Shoe Fit, 373 Main St. It is expected to be completed on Sunday, with work taking place throughout Friday and Sunday.

Artist Austin Zucchini-Fowler and Studio Project Teen interns, not pictured, paint a mural on the back of the Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. building on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Longmont, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

“We decided to create a mural that was inclusive to the community,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “Anyone is invited to stand in front of the wings. We’re hoping we can invite the community and it will be a piece that brings the community together.”

The project is part of the Studio Project Internship program, a collaboration between the Firehouse Art Center and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. Elaine Waterman, executive director of the Firehouse Art Center, described the program as part art creation, part examination of social justice issues and how they relate to teens. This year, the young artists wanted to highlight the challenges faced by youth throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“As teenagers, they were feeling the effects of what was going on and yet they don’t really have any say,” Waterman said. “They wanted to address the pandemic. I said, ‘OK, research artists that are working with topics of the pandemic.’”

Their searches led them back to Zucchini-Fowler. In April, the Denver artist created a mural off  Colfax Avenue of a masked nurse with angel wings and boxing gloves. The mural resonated with those who saw it, and a number of news agencies did stories about the creation.

The artist said he was inspired by his family to create the mural, including his three brothers who are doctors.

“The health care community was certainly stressed,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “I wanted to celebrate the fight and the beauty and really just give the health care community a big shoutout and say, ‘Thank you.’”

Zucchini-Fowler, who has been an artist for 10 years, said he jumped at the chance to collaborate with students on a project. He said he wanted to teach them how to work on a large-scale creation, while also give them a chance to get out of their homes and do something collaborative.

Because of the pandemic, the program has largely been virtual. Friday marked the first opportunity for the six students involved and Zucchini-Fowler to work together face-to-face.

Clara Linder, a 13-year-old Westview Middle School student, said she’s never had the chance to create a mural or use spray paint to make art.

“I think it will be interesting using these materials to expand what I know and can do,” Clara said.

Lilia Alizadeh, a 16-year-old Silver Creek High School student, said she had also only ever worked on small-scale projects.

“I joined the internship because I thought it would be a chance to join my passion for art and social justice,” she said. “Both of those things are the most important things to me, so this was a perfect opportunity.”

With the pandemic keeping people apart, Luana Cooper, a 16-year-old Boulder High School student, said she hopes the mural brings them together.

“I like trying new things, and I’ve never done anything like a mural,” Luana said. “I think it’s a great way to build community.”



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