Amanda Schwengel

August 10, 2020

Arts and Culture

Denver murals and street art: ‘walls with tongues’

As artist Carlos Frésquez adapts his Community Painting class for COVID-19 concerns, he reflects on the power of murals from the paleolithic to the Renaissance to Colorado’s Chicano Movement and beyond.

Amanda Schwengel

August 10, 2020

 

When artist Carlos Frésquez began painting murals in Denver’s Chicano neighborhoods in the 1970s, he was looked down upon by the larger city community.

Today, murals are everywhere – and treasured throughout the city – as testimony to “what’s going on right now,” he said.

“I call murals ‘walls with tongues’ because that’s what they’ve been all along,” he said. “It’s a way to instantly communicate and document a time. And voice your opinion.”

This summer as Frésquez, a Metropolitan State University of Denver alumnus and professor, embarked on teaching his popular Community Painting: The Mural course, he was forced to adapt the collaborative process to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here, Frésquez and his MSU Denver students show how they came together to paint a new mural while staying physically apart.

“It’s another way to learn and teach this process,” Frésquez said, “and it’s been a positive challenge. It forced me to rethink how to teach.”

 

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