New Rainbow Park mural in Silverthorne ties water to the mountains
Folks walking by Rainbow Park in Silverthorne might notice a new mural on the side of the building at the park’s entrance.
The mural was painted by Denver-based artist Danielle SeeWalker. SeeWalker is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, and the mural takes inspiration from her heritage.
SeeWalker was approached by her friend and former-local artist Shannon Galpin about doing a mural centering around water, and her interest was immediately sparked. A few years ago, SeeWalker’s tribe made headlines for working to protect its waterways, which gave her a closer connection to the mural.
Silverthorne Recreation Director Joanne Cook said the mural highlights the central role water has in town since “the Blue River is the backdrop for everything that happens here.”
While the mural was intended to focus on water, SeeWalker said mountains are a part of that story too and she wanted them to be included. She said when she looks to the mountains she sees faces.
“I often think, ‘Man, if these mountains could talk what would they tell me; what would they have seen throughout all these millions of years?’” she said. “I kind of wanted to put that connection together, and so I just decided to make a mural that was sort of a personified version of Mother Earth in the mountain scenery with the water at the base.”
Cook said Galpin proposed the project, and it was completed less than two months after their initial conversation. She said Rainbow Park is a central gathering spot for younger residents in the community, making it a perfect location for the mural.
“All the stars aligned, and we could just tell that it was a perfect fit for Rainbow Park,” Cook said. “Every time we have spontaneous works of art like this in public spaces, I think it draws people in and it’s a little bit of a surprise. … It feels good to be in a community that celebrates all cultures with beautiful pieces like this.”
With the help of Galpin, who recently moved to Scotland, SeeWalker connected with a few high school students to help paint the mural. SeeWalker said while they were painting they were approached by several passersby expressing their excitement about having more art downtown.
Town Manager Ryan Hyland said Silverthorne will take any opportunity to bring more art and culture to different areas of the community, and he said this mural was a great opportunity to do so.
“This was one of those opportunities that we can be nimble, and something fits within our Arts and Culture Strategic Plan,” Hyland said.
SeeWalker said she likes for her art to have a message, and she hopes this piece will encourage folks to take care of the Earth and its water. She also inscribed an acknowledgment to the Ute Tribe, the original inhabitants and caretakers of the area, as a part of the mural.
“I’m very honored and humbled to be able to share my art with anybody, but in a public space it’s always especially great,” SeeWalker said. “It’s just kind of reinforced when I have the community tell me verbally how much they appreciate it.”
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