Have you noticed anything new about Downtown Laramie? Have you noticed how some of the store walls aren’t blank anymore? That’s because they aren’t. All thanks to the Laramie Mural Project and Downtown Laramie.
The Laramie Mural Project is a nonprofit organization that works on beautifying Laramie and bringing the community together. Volunteers add so much to the project because it brings the Laramie community together.
There are so many people to thank for the murals. Trey Sherwood is one of them. Sherwood is a director of both the Laramie Mural Project and Downtown Laramie Wyoming.
“It’s evolving, it’s become a beast on its own,” Sherwood said of the project. “It has grown beyond what we’d ever imagined.”
The project now has a five year waiting list of businesses and walls who have the desire to be included in the movement. When the project first began they weren’t as willing, but as they are seeing the effect the murals were having on the community they are eager to have a part in it.
For some business owners five years is too long to wait. Several have hired artists to paint their business buildings so they could join in and magnify the beauty that is the Laramie Mural Project.
If someone is driving on 3rd street or Snowy Range Road, they’ll notice something new. The “Laramie” mural of the walls of Hot Power Yoga. This new and geometric mural was designed and lead by local artist, June Glasson. Glasson is an artist that has designed and worked on several of the murals around Laramie.
This location is what inspired Glasson to design the mural that is seen there today. Glasson enjoys including the the community and with such a large canvas she needed some help. She made it a “paint by numbers” so everyone could participate and have ownership.
One of Glasson’s favorite parts of being involved in the projects is being “interested and excited by collaborating with people, hopefully that mural [Laramie] celebrates our creative community.”
Glasson invited all the art classes in Laramie to come out and help paint, as well as organizing community paint days for anyone.
Glasson describes it as a “welcoming point for Laramie” those coming into town from the West and “adds to the visual landscape.”
“We live in a selfie moment”, she created it with the fact in mind that “this will be a great selfie spot.”
In the technologically advanced age we live in, it is important to consider just how widespread anything like a photo can get on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. There is a tremendous amount of attention that can come from a project like the Laramie Mural Project. Laramie is a fairly small town that can benefit from the attention something like the “Laramie” mural can bring.
With Laramie, or as the locals call it, Laradise, being a rural, college town, this could inspire potential college students and make them fall in love with what Laramites call home. When their families come and visit the murals are something they can go see while they are walking around Downtown.
Kayla Foos is a current University of Wyoming student, Laramie resident and an admirer of the art that graces Laramie’s Downtown.
Foos shares, “I’ve always loved Downtown Laramie, but in the two years I have lived here they have added murals and they have made Downtown so much better.”
As these murals continue to “pop up”, it keeps the community on their toes because they never know what might appear and where it might appear. There is at least one mural in the process now.
There are already more than 20 murals and during the summer months Downtown Laramie organizes and conducts mural tours by either walking or riding bike. Anyone can get the full mural experience by participating in these tours., which is another way the murals are bringing the community together.
“After coming back to Laramie after a summer away, it was awesome to see the new ones,” Foos said, “and seeing people out there actually painting them, it made them a lot more special and to see a little bit of the process of what goes into the creating of them.”
For people who are just visiting and shopping downtown, the murals enrich their experience and like Glasson’s “Laramie” mural, it gives them a place to document those memories.
During this upcoming summer of 2018, Laramie will turn 150 years old. This is a very important occasion. An art project may be something to look forward to and watch out for.