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New dinosaur mural: Community art reflects youth impact

Thanks to the efforts of two organizations, a vibrant new mural at the Dinosaur Journey Museum recognizes the positive impact of our community’s young people, while welcoming travelers and locals alike to the Fruita area. Unveiled in November, the mural represents a key part of the area’s celebrated history: the dinosaurs that roamed this region millions of years ago.

The mural was initiated by Rise Above Colorado, a drug abuse prevention organization that measurably impacts teen perceptions and attitudes about the risks of substance abuse to help youth make empowered, healthy choices.

The completion of the mural culminates a year of planning with the local Fruita Youth Action Council. It was painted by Denver artist Bimmer Torres using spray paint as a medium.

Rise Above Colorado Director of Youth Engagement Jonathan Judge said a mural is a good way to keep in touch with a community and raise awareness. “Research and experience have shown that art is transformative for youth and the community,” he noted.

Judge said the mural is one of the largest Rise Above Colorado has accomplished so far and the most detailed to date. “Bimmer Torres’ skillset is phenomenal,” he added.

The Fruita Youth Action Council partnered with Rise Above Colorado on the project, helping identify the concept for the mural and working with the Dinosaur Journey Museum. The Council consists of 15 to 20 students between the 6th and 12th grades who work collaboratively with peers and community organizations to provide meaningful input on youth related issues, programs and the promotion of health. The Council helps develop leadership, self-advocacy and independence skills, conducts team building activities and provides the opportunity for youth’s voices to be heard.

The group was formed in the fall of 2019 by the Fruita Youth Initiative, a community effort to decrease youth substance use and promote mental health awareness.

Youth Activities Supervisor Brittany Kline with the Fruita Parks and Recreation Department facilitates the council.      She said the group’s membership has been mostly consistent, with a few seniors graduating and being replaced with incoming students. “They’re a pretty solid group and doing well so far,” she added.

Kline said Rise Above Colorado had been wanting to do a mural on the Western Slope for some time, and they thought the Youth Council would be a good group to work with on the project.

Be sure to take time to drive by the Dinosaur Journey Museum (or tour the museum!) and view this incredibly detailed piece of artwork that celebrates the heritage and history of our home and acknowledges the contributions of our youth to the community.