Eric Bransby's mural in the long hallway of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center does an uncanny thing: it warms up the entire space. From where it's lodged above the black donor wall near the end of the hall, it projects a sense of color and movement far beyond its own boundaries.
Over a year in the making, the mural (which we've written about here, here and here) was finally completed and installed last week, commemorating the FAC's 75-year history and multidisciplinary approach. Figures like Boardman Robinson and Martha Graham appear throughout the 30-foot piece, as well as artists in a studio, musicians, dancers and actors.
A huge crowd filled the hallway and lined the grand staircase for the Friday afternoon unveiling. Numerous donors, photographers and members of the public huddled in to see Bransby, as well as his assistant, Trevor Thomas. FAC president and CEO Sam Gappmayer spoke, followed by museum director Blake Milteer, who pointed out that Bransby's late wife Mary Ann also appears in the mural. She's one of the artists drawing from a live model on the left half of the piece, standing at an easel. (See a detail in this in-progress post; she's in the last image.)
Bransby thanked Thomas as well as his other assistants, who helped mix gallons upon gallons of paint for this project, which was by far the most colorful — literally — of his career.
Interestingly, Milteer pointed out that the Bransby work stands within sight of Frank Mechau's running-horse fresco in the FAC courtyard. It's a fitting tribute to the institution and its lineage of murals.