Mile High & Rising
Denver, CO | 1999
MILE HIGH & RISING is a tribute to the contributions of African people to the midwest US, specifically Colorado.
This 8 ft x 52 ft acrylic painting portrays several notable African American pioneers, including:
Aunt Clara Brown, an enslaved woman who migrated West and found success owning a laundry service and Bed & Breakfast. She then bought the freedom of her children and bailed her entire town out of debt. She helped many people in Colorado set up their lives and businesses, and she is considered one of the founders of the state.
Barney Ford, an enslaved man who migrated West with his wife during the Gold Rush. After the gold he found was stolen by White people, he entered the newspaper and hotel business. He used the profits of his empire (which stretched all the way to a hotel in Nicaragua) for civil rights and to bring Black people out West. He is also considered a founder of the state of Colorado.
This impressive giant of a tribute stands in the Denver International Airport. It features sculpted bronze relief and was created entirely by the artist himself (an unusual occurrence when it comes to murals), down to the bullet-proof glass, which he says he added because he had to "do something with some swag."
This project was commissioned by the Mayor’s Office of Art and Culture & ULOZI.