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Rock Canyon students leave their mark downtown

Art students paint mural in Denver near Coors Field

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On a recent December afternoon, a handful of Rock Canyon High School students traveled to downtown Denver to transform a gray concrete wall into a colorful Colorado landscape. The students, along with their teacher, Zoe Tessier, got to leave their mark on a nook in the heart of the city, just south of the entrance to Coors Field.

“It’s kind of a cool way to apply the 21st century — to get an idea and see it come to life,” said Tessier.

The mural was an ongoing project for Tessier’s 30 students in grades ninth through 10th. It was also the first of its kind done by an art class at the high school in Highlands Ranch.

Tessier asked each student to draft five to 10 ideas of a painting that best describes Colorado. She then asked a combined real estate business and art studio, on Larimer Street in downtown Denver, if her class could paint a mural on the exterior back wall of its building.

The owner of Ion Real Estate, Jim Cavoto, agreed. He and several of his employees sifted through students’ submissions and voted on a winner: a painting by freshman Chris Jung of a scene of white Rocky Mountains, purple clouds, brown downtown buildings, the entrance of the baseball field and a sun overhead mirroring the red “C” from the Colorado flag.

“We narrowed it down to two,” said Cavoto of the submissions. “The one we picked was more baseball oriented.”

Students who were able to travel downtown and paint on the afternoon of Dec. 19 were thrilled to be selected for such a job. Though one student’s artwork was selected, creating the final masterpiece was a team effort.

“It’s more hands-on,” said 15-year-old Olivia Luhnau, holding a thick brush covered in white paint, standing next to her mother, Debbie, who accompanied her on the trip downtown. “It’s a lot more free hand and a lot less detail.”

Debbie Luhnau was happy to see her daughter switch out her daily routine of sitting at a desk for participating in a real-word activity.

“As a parent,” she said, “I’m excited that my child gets to do something practical.”

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