A new eye-catching mural painted on the old drive-in movie screen structure on the east side of Craig alongside Highway 40 now greets residents and visitors as they enter town.
The new painting replaces a former printed mural that was installed on the structure in 2015, which was faded and badly in need of updating. The recently-completed replacement stands out with an array of bold colors and features a welcoming greeting splashed across an image of rafters floating down the Yampa River past an assortment of local wildlife.
The Craig Chamber of Commerce recently shared that “the project was initiated with the goal of revitalizing this site while paying homage to the unique spirit of our community.”
That objective was realized thanks to the work and support of many local community members, including the Craig Chamber of Commerce, the Moffat County Local Marketing District and the Vernal, Utah-based Ninty1 Designs.
Ninty1 Designs is headed by Jordan Clark, a muralist known for his work in Utah and northwestern Colorado.
Over the past 13 years, Clark has dedicated himself to painting murals and, for the last three years, has done so full-time. Clark’s background in landscapes and his passion for large canvases culminated in his most recent endeavor in Craig.
In describing the Craig project, Clark said it initially posed new challenges due to both its scale and height, but ultimately fulfilled one of his long-held goals. He shared that he’s “always had a dream of painting like you see in the big cities, on skyscrapers or parking garages … so it was fun to be able to paint that high up in the air.”
Clark and his team were able to complete the mural in three weeks. To celebrate, he toured the street art scene of Wynwood Walls, Florida, an area known for its vast multitude of murals, while attending an embroidery and printing conference.
Clark explained that since his exterior mural work is limited to the spring-to-fall season due to temperature constraints, he typically spends the winter months in his shop, expanding his brand to include screen-printing, embroidery, airbrushing and constructing smaller projects such as hand-painted signs. He described his overall business plan as “just taking everything to do with art and turning it into a way to make a living.” He even plans to transform his shop into a mural masterpiece in the future.
As for the future of the Craig mural, Clark believes that it will stand the test of time, both literally and figuratively. The artist took extra care to add a final protective layer to his finished work, and he will return to Craig periodically over the next few years to determine whether additional protective coats are needed. He estimates that the mural should maintain its integrity for at least 20 years, giving Moffat County residents an enduring community-focused art piece that they can be proud of for decades to come.