Locals transform pedestrian tunnel into work of art

Ben Clark, 9, paints a snowflake he designed in school on the wall of the Town Park pedestrian tunnel on July 10. Roaring Fork Valley residents of all ages are invited to paint a panel in the mural on the tunnel walls.
Aubree Dallas/Snowmass Sun |

It’s hot outside, and kids are running around and splashing in the pool at the Snowmass Recreation Center.

Meanwhile, in the cool shade of the pedestrian tunnel connecting the center to the softball fields, artists of all ages are transforming the whitewashed walls into colorful works of art.

The project, sponsored by the Snowmass Arts Advisory Board, is open to all residents of the Roaring Fork Valley, about 10 and older. Each artist is painting a mural of their own design in a panel, the sizes of which vary by artist.

On July 10, Ben Clark, 9, was replicating a snowflake he’d watercolored at school. He was painting a panel next to his sister Kendall, 11, and on the other side of her was her best friend, Tilly Swanson.

“We are all pretty crafty people,” said Ben and Kendall’s mom, Kara Clark. “So this is a really fun opportunity, like putting your hand in cement. It’ll be fun for them years from now to come in and see what they did.”

Kara was painting an aspen scene on the upper row of panels. There are 72 squares sectioned off in the tunnel, and Barb Peckler, staff liaison for the Arts Advisory Board, said almost half of them are still unclaimed.

The board created the project because it wanted to expand the town’s art walk, which includes sites such as the landscape in the Village Shuttle stop below the mall and various sculptures around Snowmass, said board member Michelle Bates.

“We decided to lighten (the tunnel) up a little, give it a little bit of life,” Bates said. “And to open it up to the community so we can get lots of involvement and perspective and ideas.”

The board sealed the tunnel before the artists began working and is also providing acrylic paint and brushes. And it will cover the art with a sealant once it is finished so that if anyone vandalizes the work, it will be easy to remove, Peckler said.

Stephanie Nixon, who has taught art at Aspen High School for seven years, and one of her former students, Sage Lucero, 18, were painting landscapes two squares wide on either side of the tunnel. Nixon said she liked the project because it’s open to all ages and abilities.

“It’s accessible to everyone in the community,” Nixon said. “It’s not intimidating.”

To participate, download an application from and submit it and a sketch of your design to For more information, call Peckler at 970-923-3777.