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About the Wall

AerialViewPeacock.JPG

          Pueblo Levee Mural Project became "The Largest Outdoor Mural Gallery in the World" in the Guinness World Book of Records from 1995-2016.  These murals spanned the concrete levee wall along the Historic Arkansas River, in Pueblo Colorado.  The wall was built in 1921 after the 1921 flood that left downtown Pueblo under 25 ft. of water.  The river waters were diverted to the present location and this  65 ft. concrete wall was built to protect the city from future large floods. 

          The Mural Project was over 200,000 sq. ft. of continuous paintings that were on a wall that spanned 3 miles long.  The wall is on average 65 ft. tall and slopes at a 45-degree angle.  Hundreds of artists, non-artists, and students have made their mark on the wall and this number grows as the wall is constantly being worked on.

Aerial view of the nearly complete Peacock by Tia Monson

The Pueblo Levee Mural's Story

          In 1978 a group of USC/CSU-Pueblo students and local artists known as the TEE HEE’s banned together to start one of the first organized murals to be painted on the levee wall.  But at this time it was illegal to paint there so they had to do it late at night.  So this is where the "Fish in the Bathtub" on the 4th Street Bridge was born.  The students spent months planning how to carry the paint, work in the dark with flashlights, and also have lookouts in case the police came.  Some of the neighbors saw their flashlights and heard them whistle to each other and the police made an attempt to catch the students.  But just as they finished the fish they made their escape on one of the trains heading east and jumped off at the Union Depot and ran down Union Ave and found shelter at the Branch Inn with Joey the owner.  He was just closing the bar down and let them sleep behind the bar for the night. This quickly became an issue of whether the painting on the levee should be legal or not.  At that time our current District Attorney Gus Sandstrom was running for District Attorney and proposed that painting should become legal with a permit. 

          In 1979 a local artist Dave Roberts early organizer of the Levee Murals created a yearly Paint-A-Thon during May for any artists that come to paint the levee and he would supply all of the paint.  Roberts would go to paint stores around southern Colorado and take all of their old latex paint and recycle it by painting on the levee.  In the early 1990s, Roberts became the major paint recycler for Colorado, and still to this day Southern Colorado Recycling works sorting paint, donating to the levee artists, and recycling in Pueblo.

Image by Agê Barros

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Image by Christian Wiediger

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