Rise Above mural blends natural beauty of Craig with message of recovery, strength
A blend of Northwest Colorado imagery and splashy colors now greets Craig drivers and pedestrians.
A new mural shines along Russell Street as part of the substance abuse awareness program Rise Above Colorado.
The artwork features a black and silver bull elk in front of a mountain landscape balanced by shades of pink, purple and blue.
Denver artist Chad Bolsinger designed the piece, which he said is a juxtaposition of strength in the animal it portrays with softer colors.
Starting Tuesday, July 9, Bolsinger worked on the mural throughout the week, with Craig kids contributing to the piece on Thursday, with names, handprints and personal drawings, as well as messages such as “Stay True.”
Though he took some extra time to finish the animal’s antlers, Bolsinger said he originally envisioned having it completed in one day.
“It’s the result of five years of busting my butt to get it to the point where it could be one day’s work,” he laughed.
Craig Police Department’s Ryan Fritz aided in overseeing the project, which he also helped find a good location. Rise Above had previously provided a mural in Craig on Yampa Avenue, thought the artwork had to be painted over amid renovations to what is now The Barrel Cathedral.
“We wanted to tie in a lot of the colors and the elk from that one since people were so upset about it being taken down,” Fritz said. “We wanted to find somewhere with some longevity.”
Fritz, who said he would also like to see a similar mural at Craig Middle School, believed the outer east wall of Cramer Flooring would be an ideal spot, particularly because of the business’s owner, Tom Cramer.
“I immediately thought of him and how he has risen above,” Fritz said.
Cramer, who has struggled with drug addiction and has since aided dozens of locals in the recovery process, said he and wife Jessie were thrilled to have the piece, both because of the nature content and its subtext.
“We do a lot of recovery stuff anonymously, so we’re not used to having it quite so in-your-face like this, but we love it,” he said. “Quite a lot of thought went into it. We want to support recovery in this town any way we can.”
Two local Boy Scouts are making Craig’s Smoky Bear in front of the Bureau of Land Management Little Snake River field office better prepared to weather the elements.