UNITED FOR THE DIVIDE: a live art mural for public land protection

photography by  Tommy Penick

photography by Tommy Penick

During the 2018 Winter Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Denver, Colorado I partnered with Conservation Colorado and Outdoor Research to create a unique engagement that helped educate, support and fund efforts that endorse the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act.  I created a 40 piece mural on the side of the OR tiny house that helped tell the story of how this Bill brings together a multitude of user groups, plants, animals, ecosystems, and all the communities that live beside and benefit from the wild and scenic public lands in Colorado's Central Mountains.  Each piece of the mural was painted live and sold on site with 100% of proceeds benefiting Conservation Colorado.  Together we raised $6,300 for Conservation Colorado, hosted a happy hour with Senator Bennet and Representative Polis and shared the story of public land protection with thousands of Outdoor Industry professionals at the tradeshow.   For more information about the campaign, you can visit  www.continentaldivide.org

tiny mural detail shot web.jpg
The completed mural, after 3 days of live painting, activating, sharing stories and building connections.

The completed mural, after 3 days of live painting, activating, sharing stories and building connections.

senator bennet and represenative polis show their support

Conservation Colorado hosted a happy hour with Senator Bennet and Represenative Polis to announce the reintroduction of the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness and Camp Hale Legacy Act to the House and the Senate.  US Senator Bennet purchased the 10th Mountain Division board for himself, showing support of Conservation Colorado's work on this important bill.  After 3 long days, we sold 36 of the 40 boards, raising $6,300 to put towards this campaign effort. 

bennet polis web.jpg

making the mural at home before the event

All of the wood was sourced locally, primary as scarp wood from contractor sites.  The Tiny House was miles away so I had to work off of a photograph and measurements sent to me by a friend.  I decided to make a mosaic of sorts, utilizing different types of wood to cover the entire Tiny House.  I couldn't even start to think about the creative concepts for the mural until I had my "canvas in place."  Once I had a mock up of what the mural would look like I started to sketch the layout for individual artwork on the boards.  I knew which stories I wanted to tell and assigned most of them to specific boards but most of the final decisions were made on site in the moment.  Installing the wood onto the tiny house at the trade show felt like a moment of truth but luckily everything fit closely to how I had imagined with a little bit of improvation!



This is the work that makes me feel most alive.  I wouldn't be able to call myself an activist if it wasn't for the unique opportunity groups like Conservation Colorado have given me to utilize my skills as an artist to assist in telling cause based stories like this one.  I love bringing together multiple entities- brands, buyers, activists, land users, politicians, and anyone with a curiosity for what is happening during the construction of my art installment.  I love using the creative process and the power of art to connect with people around causes that are important to my heart as well as raising awareness and funds to further action in support of these causes. 

Thank you to Outdoor Research for believing in the importance of this work.

Thank you to my beloved state of Colorado and the incredible energy buzzing around the new home of the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, now based in Denver.

Thank you to everyone who supported Conservation Colorado and took one of these boards home.  Keep the story alive when people ask about the artwork!