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New Mural Appears in Downtown Cortez

On Sunday, the side of the wall on the Sears building on Market Street in downtown Cortez was blank. On Monday, it was blue and tan, and on Tuesday, the blue was starting to match the color of the sky. Clouds drifted in on Wednesday, and a landscape appeared on Thursday. This is the process of a new mural coming to life in downtown Cortez.

Artist Mariah Kaminsky says the finished mural will depict a turn-of-the century cowboy  leading mules along the Old Spanish Trail. The 16th-century Spanish trail crossed the Dolores River and came through the Cortez area, and became a trade route for early settlers. Kaminsky is planning to incorporate scenery from Sand Canyon and period attire into the image.

"It’s going to be very realistic to the people that are driving by and from the corner,” she says.

The City of Cortez Mural Committee commissioned the $10,000 piece to highlight the historical importance of trade in the area. Cortez Grants and Special Projects Director Chris Burkett says the committee chose the side of the Sears building after contacting the property owner and negotiating future care of the mural.

“We’ve had our eye on that building for a long time, because it’s such a large wall, and just blank,” he tells KSJD.  

Kaminsky was picked to paint the mural based on her bid and concept. She runs a fine art business out of Durango and has a background in theatre set design.  She has commissioned three previous works in Cortez-- a mural on the side of Garcia and Co. Jewelers, an image of a rug on the Abundant Life building, and a restoration of the mural on the Cortez Cultural Center. Kaminsky says she takes her work seriously, because murals become part of the city’s legacy.

“I’m hoping to be that artist that they, again and again, will say ‘who did that mural?’” she says.

She hopes to complete this mural by the week of August 22, and invites people to comment on it using the hashtag #cityofcortezmural2016.

Click on the slideshow above to see an image of Kaminsky's concept for the mural.

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