Three women work together to paint the grain bins of Colorado's rural Eastern Plains.
Colorado is a state full of artistic expression, and not just in Denver. Three women from the rural Eastern Plains have started an artistic movement with a very specific goal: to paint giant murals across the plains. They paint on grain silos, or bins, along the I-70 corridor to depict life as they know it in rural Colorado.
Staci Beauford started this adventure by painting an American flag at her family farm in Limon. She was asked by a neighbor to paint one on the side of a propane tank, and then, in 2018, was asked by the mayor to paint a mural of the community on the side of a grain elevator. This was a bigger project than the others, so Beauford brought in her sister, Kayla Ravenkamp, and her cousin, Audrey Sayles, to help.
They knew the task of painting the massive mural would be a challenge, but also knew from a life of working together that they would rise to the task.
The first mural titled "Heart of Harvest" depicts a silhouette of a farmer holding a child above a field. Inside the silhouette, scenes of rural Colorado are painted. The mural stands 60 feet tall, and the three women completed the project in a week’s time. The piece was a huge hit, getting 129,000 views and 5,000 likes in just 24 hours on social media.
After the first mural was completed, the community embraced the artwork and the trio began calling themselves Some Girls and A Mural, as their work became requested all over the community. They've painted murals on propane tanks for DJ Petroleum, an abandoned wind turbine blade at the Trailing Edge RV Park, and local business and town signs for nearby Hugo, Colorado. All around the community, they turned old buildings and unusual spaces into canvases, splashing them with color and images of the rural lifestyle.
Inspired by the welcoming they received, the women decided to set another big goal, which was starting a project called “Paint the Plains”. They want to paint every grain bin along the I-70 corridor by the year 2025.
“The murals will expose and educate through the images depicted, showcasing cultural integrity, communal meaning and evoke an emotional experience. These murals inspire hope in our communities. We will show our suicidal population they are valued, necessary and supported. These murals will encourage visitors/tourism to our poverty-stricken towns, further creating awareness through experiencing each location.”
As the project website explains:
“We seek to educate and promote a different opinion of our demographic despite the current trend. We want to see urban areas embrace rural areas of Colorado, understanding that we are equally important as individual human beings and participants in the State’s economic ecosystem. We want to see children educated through arts about where their food comes from, learning that generations of valuable and worthwhile people have worked this land and produced so they can eat safe and healthy food.
We want to provoke conversion between urban and rural residents about Colorado produced food, the importance of agriculture and the value of the Plains in our State. Through exposure and education, we begin to bridge the gap of inequality, building a common ground of understanding and respect.”
Some Girls and a Mural have partnered with the Colorado Prairie Arts and Music Council (CPAM) to help complete the project. CPAM has applied for the Arts in Society grant to assist in funding the project and are awaiting word on if they will be selected, which should come in Spring 2020. The Flagler Cooperative has agreed to allow the use of their grain bins as locations for the project, and the women have selected 15 locations they would like to paint. If the funding comes through, the women hope to start painting the pieces this spring.
These women have certainly changed the look and feel of their town and have connected the community of the rural eastern plains of the state through their artwork. Showcasing the life, history, people, and the community of rural Colorado, their work has brightened the lives and landscape. We wish them all the best and can’t wait to see what happens next for Some Girls and A Mural.
Have you seen the colorful artwork from these talented ladies? Let us know what you think about the Paint the Plains project, and share any other local art projects we should know about in the comments.