Public coloring book event to bring the community together

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A coloring book mural will be unveiled Thursday, August 4 at the Sunken Gardens basketball court and the community is invited to fill it in from 6-8 p.m.

The mural, painted by 28-year-old Denver artist Marcus Puskar, is a collage of shapes and images that visitors can color in with chalk. The mural covers the entire perimeter of the basketball court, sprucing up a corner of Sunken Gardens Park, 800 Delaware Street. It was funded by a Denver Arts & Venues PS You Are Here grant, which supports projects that help activate Denver’s outdoor spaces through artwork that will draw in passers-by.

The goals of the grant are “to inspire creative and innovative thinking, create a sense of place, purpose, and belonging, and create public spaces that promote health, happiness, and well-being” , among other things.

Puskar’s project is one of fourteen to receive a PS You Are Here grant in 2022. Others include the Motus Theater murals outside many branches of the Denver Public Library, as well as the project Montbello Memory Mapping, which are podcast recordings that tell the long-running stories. Inhabitants of Montbello.

Puskar was notified of his acceptance in December and painted the mural in June over the course of about a week. “[The mural] presents an opportunity for people to meet,” says Puskar. “There is a task at hand that they have to do, so people are focusing on something that opens them up to socializing more outside of that.”

If community members are gathered around a common activity, they are more likely to talk, meet their neighbors and be social, suggests Puskar, who says he likes the idea of ​​people being able to come and color casually without the pressure of creating the designs or designs themselves. “It’s really low-stakes. It’s just chalk, so when the chalk is washed away, it’s totally renewable,” Puskar says. “It’s not like they put a permanent coat of paint on it.” And he will even provide the chalk.

Puskar had a similar coloring book event when he created a mural in Cherry Creek through the Denver Urban Arts Fund. He chose Sunken Gardens as the site for this mural because he lives nearby and noticed that the park looks underused.

As a social worker, Puskar says building community is “literally part of my job description,” so he pushes “projects that help people get a sense of what their communities are like and interact with people they wouldn’t normally interact with.”

Groups wishing to schedule times to color the mural can contact Marcus Puskar at [email protected] Otherwise, the event is open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday August 4th.

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