DENVER — The nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its annual report of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places,” and this year’s list includes pieces of Colorado history.
The list includes five Colorado murals — three of which are in Denver — that were created by Chicano artists.
“These murals are enduring artistic expressions of cultural identity and are powerful representations of history, creativity, and pride,” National Trust Chief Preservation Officer Katherine Malone-France said in a news release. “These murals should be recognized as significant contributions to our American cultural landscape that help ensure that our country’s full story is told.”
The murals are:
- In San Luis, “San Luis-Sierras y Colores,” by Carlos Sandoval, painted in 1986, commemorates the oldest town in Colorado, San Luis de la Culebra, founded in the 1840s by Hispano settlers when the area was still part of Mexico.
- In Pueblo’s Plaza Verde Park, a 1978 mural by Leo Lucero, symbolizes the spirit of the Indigenous people and the land before colonialism.
- In Denver, on 8th Avenue between Federal and Decatur, 2008’s “Huitzilopochtli,” by David Ocelotl Garcia uses symbolism to represent spiritual philosophies specific to the healing of the mind, body and soul.
- In Denver at 2700 Larimer St., a 2020 mural by Alicia Cardenas symbolizes taking down statutes and representations of the history “we thought we knew,” to empower those harmed by it.
- Finally, in Denver at 1325 W. 11th Ave (La Alma Recreation Center), Emanuel Martinez’s 1978 “La Alma,” commemorates the birthplace of the Chicano Mural Movement in Colorado that began in the La Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood. Specifically, the mural celebrates the legacy of Indigenous and mestizo descendants over the past and present, and seeks to inspire youth to create a promising future.
According to History Colorado, which provided the descriptions above, the murals "were inspired by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 70s, which used art as a means to educate young people and citizens-at-large about the significant contributions of Hispanos, Chicanos, Mexican Americans, and Latinos to American society. The Chicano Movement seeks to address civil rights, land rights, labor rights, educational equity and equal representation, and artist-activists have helped to create murals in Latinx neighborhoods to inspire pride and strengthen community."