Town News

The Artists and the Story of Frisco’s Black Lives Matter Mural

On Monday, July 13 in the early evening, a group of artists from around Summit County and Colorado began installing a mural on Main Street in front of Frisco Town Hall in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and equity for all. Artists purposefully placed the mural facing outward from Town Hall to symbolize that this was in collaboration with the Town of Frisco, including the Frisco Police Department.

This mural was born out of Frisco’s support for art in public spaces that reflects current culture and important moments in time, as well as encourages community conversation. This mural does not endorse any organizations or the exclusion of other cultures or races, but rather allows artists to creatively express that all lives cannot be valued until black lives are also equally valued.

The mural has the full support of the Frisco Town Council, as it aligns with the Council’s current and reaffirmed priority to be an inclusive community. The Town of Frisco joins other cities across the nation, which have stepped forward to support the Black Lives Matter movement during this pivotal time in our country’s history.

The Story of a Mural and Its Artists

It took 36 hours to complete the mural through several rainstorms, including one on the first night which erased most the chalked letters. The mural is comprised of 16 letters which measure 20-feet tall and span the whole block across two lanes. A local architect created a scaled drawing of the mural, which gave the first night’s volunteers a precise layout for the letters on this curved portion of Main Street between 1st and Madison Avenues. The letters were outlined in chalk and were painted black the next morning by the many community members who volunteered to create a “canvas” for the mural which would be painted on each letter.

In all, 13 professional artists were involved in the creation of this colorful mural; most who agreed to be part of this project with only two to three days of notice from Frisco activist and artist, Shannon Galpin, who organized this mural into being and was the person who approached the Town of Frisco with the idea for this mural. African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Nepalese, Panamanian, Polish, and white artists participated in the creation of the mural. The mural includes the work of elementary students, high school students, and college students. Three teachers also painted, two local and one from Denver. The wife and daughter of a Frisco police officer helped with the painting, and an elected school board member, a school principal, a mayor from Park County, and a member of Silverthorne’s Art Council also provided their artist labor.

Mural Video

Each Letter is a Mural

This mural was designed to provide a canvas for each artist or group of artists to express their particular artistic viewpoint. Below is an account of each letter and who painted the mural on that letter.

B- created by Johnny Draco with partner Amy Johnson. Johnny Draco is a self-taught visual artist hailing from Atlanta, Georgia who specializes in post-pop art, which expresses his personal truth, “being a child is the purest form of creativity”. Their Frisco mural seems at first glance to feature rounded playful swoops of white and then those swoops come into focus as two birds of peace, which is representative of their style. Johnny created this mural on his birthday.

L- created by Pat Milbery and two members of the So Gnar Collective crew. Pat Milbery is a Denver muralist who has shared snowboard competition podiums with the likes of Shaun White and Travis Rice, and lived in Summit County for a time. Pat’s wall murals and largescale sidewalk installations can be seen all over Denver, and he started painting the historic Larimer Square the day after his Frisco mural installation. Pat and crew chose both of the L’s, which was fitting because they always focus on the word ‘love’ in their murals. Their mural is bright and colorful with perspective-building shadowing, and includes the heart seen throughout his “Love This City” series of murals on buildings all over Denver.

A-  created by two Frisco teachers, Robyn Cornwell and Heidi Sodetz, with student and adult helpers including Hannah, Gia, Lucy, May, Mia, Maddie, Mason, Lucas, June and Claudine. Spontaneously, these teachers jumped in to create a piece which expresses its beauty as Aspen trees through the seasons with a moon glowing through the branches.

C- created by Aaron Sutton. Denver muralist Aaron Sutton describes his “art for all” philosophy as coming out of being in the streets, painting amongst the homeless in environments where life has little value and art is for the privileged. Afro-cosmic is how Aaron describes his work, and while he usually works with spray paint, he was ready to jump into the challenge of working with paintbrushes and spray paint on the asphalt. He is a Coast Guard kid who grew up on both coasts and in the Midwest. His Frisco mural features bold colors and striking shapes, which completely elevate this street canvas out of the ordinary.

K- created by Kellie Rogers. Silverthorne artist Kellie Rogers creates paintings, murals, jewelry, and even tattoo designs but this was her first road mural. In her Frisco mural, she moved away from her signature intricate and flowing designs to create a very boldly geometric piece which gives a nod to southwestern patterns and expresses a sense of place with mountain landscapes and sunsets in bright colors to uplift the heart and mind.

L- created by Pat Milbery. This second Frisco mural for Pat Milbery moved away from clear geometric shapes and has a looser street art vibe which reminded many on the street of some of their favorite 80’s patterns.

I – created by Olivia Brown Wolf and Olivia Norpel. Olivia Brown Wolf, a Frisco resident and a Peaks School graduate originally arrived at the mural site in the morning with her friend Olivia Norpel to paint the base coat only, but when they finished, they decided that they would pitch in to create a mural that honored the mountain LGBTQ+ community. Their first mural ever features graphic mountains leading to a rainbow.

V – created by the Callahan family. The Callahan family led by Jaime and Patti are Frisco residents with their own graphic design and marketing firm, and are members of the newly founded Frisco public art group, Make Frisco. They created this mural with their two sons, Evan and Brendan, with a design comprised of many colorful DNA strands converging at the bottom of the ‘V’ in a wavy graphic reminiscent of the 70’s. The Callahan’s stated, “What started as an exploration into a Mod pattern with references to Mondrian’s work has taken on a life of its own. The curves and color blocks have invoked in viewers a strong visceral connection to the DNA strand; we believe that’s important because at the genetic level humans are all the same. “Race” is a social construct, not a scientific reality, and we need to work harder than ever to make our society safe and open for everyone to thrive in.”

E – created by Tim McCall, Nam Lang, and Tom Lang. These Frisco residents spontaneously came together to create this mural which expressed water in snowflakes, waves, and clouds. The mural had a distinctly Nepalese feel, likely due to Nam’s Nepalese roots, and brought different elements of the mountains into the mural. Despite no one in the group being willing to call themselves an artist, one of the most beautiful murals emerged.

S – created by Piotr Olimpiusz Kopytek. Piotr is a Frisco resident and the owner of the Blue Heron Tattoo shop on Main Street. He is a Polish immigrant and is deeply connected to mountain life. You will most often see him biking around town, or in the winter, he is snowboarding most days before heading to his shop. He incorporated Adinkra Symbol (ashanti, Ghana) representing the power of love at the top of his S, and below that there is a landscape of alpine lakes nestled between mountains peaks, Indian Paintbrush wildflowers, and waterfalls.

M – created by Consuelo Redhorse and other community members. This Silverthorne resident and member of the Navajo nation sits on the Summit County school board. Consuelo Redhorse set the first six red handprints across this mural to symbolize the violence that affects Indigenous women across Canada, the United States, and beyond and to honor her sister who was murdered. Other community members added their red hand prints but left much of the letter empty to represent the loss of Indigenous women and their invisibility in the justice system.

A – created by Patrick Gleason and family. Patrick Gleason is a Summit County architect. He stopped by to see the mural in the morning and ended up creating a letter of his own, just an hour after first seeing the mural. Patrick came back with a design concept, as well as his wife and son. Their mural uses geometric shapes and colors that are reminiscent of southwestern art and creates a mountain landscape with a people-filled arch above.

T – created by a Denver teacher. She created a topography map based on this area, and then scattered butterflies across the map and named them after black explorers. Connecting the erasure of black explorers and adventurers to the systemic racism in the outdoor industry got to the heart of one of the purposes of this installation.

T – created by Elyse Hope. Frisco’s Elyse Hope is an interior designer, and she assisted with initial layout of the mural with architect, Fred Newcomer, and painting in the letters with the black base coat. She came back with a design for a T that was quintessential Colorado graphic and painted her mural with strong graphic shapes to express a mountain landscape with water, trees, and a sunrise.

E- created by three Breckenridge locals. This was a spontaneous mural filled with whimsical and colorful splatters.

R – Devon Galpin Clarke – 15-year-old Devon Galpin Clarke of Frisco and Breckenridge is already an accomplished muralist who has installed large scale street art murals in Paris, Oxford, and Denver with collaborator, Mexican artist Diana Garcia. Devon Galpin Clarke was inspired by her endangered species activism when she created her Frisco mural featuring wolf, mountain lion, and fox prints based on her belief that “you can’t have social justice without environmental justice”.

Town Council Statement of Support

“We, the Frisco Town Council, together with the Town Manager, leadership team, and our Frisco Police Department, support equity for all. We acknowledge that local government is uniquely positioned to call attention to and assist in dismantling the systemic impacts of racism and inequity; therefore, inclusivity is a core value and goal of the Town of Frisco. We are committed to creating a positive, welcoming environment where every member of our community, including our guests, feels supported and at home.”