Longest artpiece rests along riverwalk
A group of Pueblo West High School students have left their mark on Pueblo history, repainting the mural along the Pueblo Riverwalk trail below Dutch Clark Stadium.
The Arkansas River levee is the canvas for the Pueblo Levee Mural Project, a three-mile piece of artwork that stands in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest continuous painting.
Pueblo West High School junior Amber Arline had the idea to refresh the paint, so she got a few friends together and got the okay, then set out to do more than 90 hours of work.
“We’d gone past it a few times riding our bikes down the river trail and we noticed it was rundown,” Arline said.
“It was painting in 1996 originally, and when I contacted the people in charge of the (original) mural, they said it would be a great idea to redo it.”
Cynthia Ramu is the coordinator of the original project. The painting tells the story of Jason Lewis, the explorer who holds a world record for circling the globe using only human power.
The “Pedal for the Planet” mural was updated when Arline and friends repainted it, showing the completion of his journey.
In 1996, his path on the painting was only partially completed, so Arline said it was nice to show the entire completed journey on the mural, depicting just how far Lewis went.
After Arline got approval to repaint the mural, she filled out appropriate paperwork and then started in October. She recruited four friends from Pueblo West High School – juniors Winter Roybal, Courtney Ewing and Andrea Mena, as well as sophomore Chase Chambers.
“I think it’s pretty cool (to be part of a world record),” Roybal said. “And I know it will be there for a really long time. Seeing the finished product was the best part. It made me feel accomplished.”
The group started Oct. 5 painting the mural, coming on weekends and sometimes after school to paint for a few hours at a time. Southern Colorado Recycling Center donated the paint for the project, provided the students would bring back anything unused and provide a picture of the finished product.
“It took 10 gallons of blue paint alone, just for the ocean!” Arline said. “So that was huge.”
The students said they realized one of the most challenging parts of repainting the mural was simply doing it, because the wall is at a 45-degree angle. They’d sit or stand on the mural and paint, and saw that it was physically demanding.
“I think my favorite thing is just looking across from Dutch Clark Stadium to see what it looked like,” Arline said. “It didn’t seem like much at times, but then looking at it from the other side, just seeing what we were doing was actually making a difference and contributing (to the community), was cool.”
To celebrate the completed project, the students organized a two-mile walk on Dec. 8, along with guest speakers. The walk began at Dutch Clark Stadium and ended at the Broadway Cup and Bowl coffee shop.
Speakers included were Lewis, the record-holding explorer, and Ramu, coordinator of the project. Those on the walk could learn about the Pueblo Levee Mural Project, how the concrete levee was constructed after the flood of 1921 and more.
“I’m really excited for people in our town to see what we’ve done and how hard we’ve worked,” said Roybal. “It shows that high schoolers can do something good in the community.”