Charlie Blackmon mural

Never stop dreaming: New Charlie Blackmon mural in Broomfield designed to inspire

Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is now permanently tucked into the Broomfield Plaza.
And though he’s two-dimensional, his message is clear: never stop dreaming.

The owners of the plaza commissioned Denver-based muralist Austin Zucchini-Fowler to bring the blank 18-foot tall and 44-foot wide wall to life.

The artist spent close to 20 hours and at least 20 cans of spray paint on the project through four work sessions, finishing it up Wednesday.

“I was reached out to about a month ago and we went through the design process and we came up with the design collaboratively, and it’s gone from there,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “We brainstormed on different figures that have made an impact in Colorado and settled on Charlie Blackmon.”

The mural is located between Sherwin-Williams and Kidcreate in the plaza, 5015 W 120th Ave.

The Broomfield Plaza shopping center is owned by NewMark Merrill Mountain States. Danaria McCoy, the company’s vice president of operations and marketing said the mural is part of NewMark Merrill’s community art initiative, designed to bring engaging art to shopping centers throughout the country. She said she found Zucchini-Fowler through some of his other recent murals.

“Not only is he a phenomenal player, the crowd sings ‘Your Love’ when he goes up to bat. It brings people together,” McCoy said of Blackmon. “Austin came up with the design and presented it to us, and we loved it at the first go-around. He came up with the quote and the pose. We thought it was a really cool representation of not only Charlie Blackmon and the Rockies but also the spirit of never stop dreaming, whether in COVID or on a day-to-day basis.”

Zucchini-Fowler said he started by sketching the design in the iPad app Procreate, which also allowed him to plan where the mural itself goes on the wall. He then used a projector to blow up the sketch onto the wall.

The wall he painted on has a unique texture. It’s wavy, rough and bumpy, and almost resembles small, narrow tiles.

“It kind of influenced how the piece turned out and the direction and way that I created it,” the muralist said of the wall’s surface. “I’m proud of how it looks and how it turned out. It’s always a good feeling when I can stand back and take a look and while I’m working have passerbys be very complimentary and recognize it’s Charlie, and be super grateful there’s color on the wall.”

Zucchini-Fowler said when he was finishing up the piece on Wednesday a girl who he guessed was 6 or 7 years old stopped by. The girl told him she wants to be an artist when she grows up, and Zucchini-Fowler talked to her about public art.

“And by the end of it, she wanted to be a public artist,” he said, later adding, “My favorite thing about public art is it’s free. Anybody can visit and take a look. There’s no cost, it’s like an open art museum and the city is the landscape. … It inspires people to want to be artists and inspires people with messaging.”

The mural being finished just in time for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field was unplanned, though serendipitous, McCoy said.

After selecting an artist and happening to land on a baseball-themed mural, then getting it approved with the city and county of Broomfield, “it kind of worked out it was complete before the All-Star Game,” McCoy said.

McCoy said the company plans to add seating and other enhancements near the mural to make it a place for shoppers to hangout or for parents to wait on kids in the plaza’s Colorado Swim School and Kidcreate Studio.

“I personally hope it invokes joy and inspiration no matter what someone’s dream is that they never stop trying to achieve it,” McCoy said of the mural. “If COVID taught us anything, the best thing to do is come together and not give up, and keep being resilient as we try to reach our goals.”

Zucchini-Fowler said he’s coming back Tuesday to put a UV coat on top of the mural to protect it from the sun, which is the last step.

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