In July, Flagstaff artists plan to begin work on the second half of what is soon to be Arizona’s largest mural. The 4,500-square-foot mural has been in the works for two years.
Muralist and oil painter Sky Black was born in Flagstaff. For several years he has wanted to paint what he called the ugliest wall in town, the east side of the historic Orpheum Theater.
The building owner and city were all for it. Black just needed money and help. He found two artists who call themselves the Mural Mice, R.E. Wall and Maggie Dewar, and they got to work.
"What we’re calling this is large-scale fine art," Black said. "So it’s all painted by hand brush and palette there’s no spray paint at all. We’re doing this the classical way. Some are calling it the Sistine Chapel of Flagstaff."
It’s actually called “Sound of Flight.” An enormous flock of birds appears to be flying out of an ornate piano.
In the past two years, dozens of local businesses and hundreds of people have donated more than $32,000 to the project. The artists hope to receive an $8,000 grant to finish it.
Black said public art has a way of bringing the community together.
"In a way, everyone who’s helped and lives in Flagstaff has an ownership of the wall of the mural itself," Black said. "I tell everyone this whole mural belongs to you, so please take care of it."
The artists have dealt with strong winds, rain storms and three-story scaffolding. Black said he and his team are unstoppable. And in the next few months they plan to celebrate the mural’s completion.