Students paint mural at The Perk Downtown

October 24, 2017

Rachel Librach

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    From the blue skies to purple mountains, beauty cRachel Librachomes in many forms in Colorado. This semester, six students had the opportunity represent our colorful state through art, in a partnership with a local business.

    Students in the Art History and Art club are working with The Perk Downtown to paint a mural, themed “Colorado Beauty,” on the shop’s second story balcony.

    The mural should be completed by Nov. 3, according to Kristine Henrich, co-president of the Art History and Art club. Heinrich said that she is grateful for the chance to help grow the club’s presence downtown. The club’s concepts and designs of the completed mural were showcased at The Heller Center from Oct. 20 – 22.

    “The Heller Center is typically the venue we use to showcase our art, and that is a really nice area, but this semester it’s very encouraging to see that, as a relatively small arts district, we are growing, and being able to contribute to that has been the biggest part for me,” she says.

    The Perk Downtown, a coffee shop located at 14 S. Tejon St., is known for promoting local breweries and coffees.

    UCCS alumnus Evan Musick, a barista and marketing consultant for The Perk, contacted three universities including UCCS, Pikes Peak Community College and Colorado College, to participate in this project.

    UCCS showed support for the project, according to Musick, who contacted Corey Drieth, co-director of the Visual and Performing Arts Program and faculty adviser for the Art History and Art Club.

    “UCCS was all about it. VAPA was a lot more supportive and they got me in contact with some specific students they had in mind,” he says.

    Drieth was excited to give the club the opportunity for recognition downtown.

    “This mural has some major benefits for the students. While GOCA is located downtown, UCCS is located up on the bluffs, and we are kind of isolated from the main cultural center of the region,” Drieth says.

    “This type of project helps bridge the gap and gives students the chance to work professionally with clients, negotiate circumstances they are working under, present images, work directly with owners and construct professional project proposals.”

    Don Heaberlin, owner of The Perk, wanted a student-inspired mural on the upstairs balcony wall, according to Musick.

    “Don suggested that he wanted to split the wall in half and let one college paint something on one side, and another college paint something on the other side, and it would be like a competition,” Musick says.

    Heaberlin and his wife have been the owners of The Perk for the nine years and are well-acquainted with UCCS.

    “We’ve had a lot of family who’ve graduated from UCCS including my wife and some of her family. Also, many of my baristas are currently going to school at UCCS,” Heaberlin says. “We wanted to give students this opportunity, and we’ve always liked UCCS.”

    Heaberlin strongly believes in supporting local businesses and assisting students to develop their skills and talents.

    “One of the identities for us as a coffee shop is we roast locally; we want to be identified as a local place with high-quality coffee,” says Heaberlin.

    “We really want to be a part of the culture that celebrates local industries and coffee. I like to see young people starting out, because I remember what that was like, and trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up.”

    Students can view the completed mural at The Perk Downtown starting Nov. 3.