Denver Art Museum Announces Martin Building Mural Project Artist Team

Community invited to participate in new Martin Building mural project with Denver-based artist team Emily Hope Dobkin and Olive Moya

Denver—May 6, 2021—The Denver Art Museum (DAM) today announced that Denver-based female artist team Emily Hope Dobkin and Olive Moya have been selected to create a new mural entitled I Invent It, My Hands Draw a Cloud, which will be prominently featured on the main level of the museum’s new Lanny and Sharon Martin Building when it reopens Oct. 24, 2021. The selection followed a request for proposals process calling for submissions to create a large-scale mural telling a story of the Denver metro area’s creative scene. The new piece by Dobkin and Moya will serve as a welcoming beacon to students, families and visitors of all ages.

The artists’ concept for the mural started with a sense of getting “back to basics” following the turbulent experiences in our communities during the global pandemic. Recognizing that everyone was affected in different ways during this time, the artwork also aims to evoke a common thread that ties those experiences together—Colorado’s outdoor spaces that served as a respite and inspiration. The mural will explore and solicit input from the community on these outdoor elements that serve as symbols of human needs for belonging (air), stability (earth), connection (fire) and letting go (water).

We were excited to select this relevant and meaningful project that we know will bring delight to visitors entering the Martin Building, while creating space for our community to participate. Emily and Olive have a vision and process for involving the community, and I’m looking forward to how this input will shape the final work.

– Christoph Heinrich, the Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the Denver Art Museum

About I Invent It, My Hands Draw a Cloud

According to the artists, the large idea behind the piece, nestled in a 12-foot by 28-foot space in the museum’s main Duncan Hall, is focused on the comfort of belonging under the same sky; the artists want the mural to evoke a sensation similar to astronauts viewing the earth from space and feeling united in humanity’s existence on this planet, with the clouds as a haven of acceptance and solidarity.

Photographs for I Invent It, My Hands Draw a Cloud will be sourced from the community to show differing perspectives of the shared sky. The bond of the collective will be demonstrated through these contributions of individual experience.

This piece is a collaborative extension of my exploration of place and our feeling of ownership and belonging in those places. It’s so exciting to be able to directly include this community in a work about our home.

– Moya
A photo grid (3x3) of people holding signs describing who they are versus how people see them.

Stereotype Snapshots, Emily Hope Dobkin at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 2014. Image composite courtesy of the artist.

How To Participate

Community members may provide content and input for the mural in several ways, as well as have opportunities to participate in ongoing programming related to the piece. In keeping with the mural’s themes of belonging (air), stability (earth), connection (fire) and letting go (water), participants will have the opportunity to submit photographs, phrases and questions.

To represent the “sky” element in the mural, the artists are requesting submissions of digital images of the sky from all who wish to contribute. For more information on this piece of the project, file specifications and inspiration samples, click here for details and to submit images.

Additionally, Emily Hope Dobkin’s Virtual “Meet Cart” will host lunchtime Zoom conversations to gather additional input and facilitate conversations about the project theme. Outcomes from these events will be incorporated into the final mural.

Free virtual Meet Cart sessions will take place on June 21, June 28 and July 12. No criteria to participate beyond some paper and pen—and feel free to munch your lunch during the calls!

Additional participation opportunities and mural-related programs will continue after the mural is installed, and will be shared on the museum’s social media channels, as well as on the artists’ Instagram accounts, @betterish and @olivemoya.

The Meet Cart is a place where strangers, friends, family and colleagues meet, greet and spark more meaningful connections. We’ll be playing a participatory game that will serve as a creative brainstorm around the concept of belonging here in Denver.

– Dobkin
A mural in Denver painted by artist Olive Moya.

Streetwise (Denver), mural and image by Olive Moya.

About the Artists

Emily Hope Dobkin describes herself as “a community organizer meets arts educator meets creative entrepreneur.” Holding a Master’s degree in Arts Management with a focus on Community Arts from the University of Oregon, as well as a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing from Goucher College, Dobkin is the face behind BETTERISH. Through workshops, consulting, pop-up events and storytelling, BETTERISH aims to serve as a platform to encourage people to make better things, have better relationships and experience better daily life. The artist’s work and collaborative projects have been visible at Anythink Libraries, 48 House/Redline Contemporary Art Center, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and Zoom rooms worldwide via The Meet Cart.

Olive Moya is a visual artist living and working in Denver. Originally from Southern California, Moya received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Otis College of Art + Design in 2011. Her work’s bold, graphic colorscapes, defined edges, line work and movement are referential to the artist’s background in illustration and lettering. She describes her paintings as “abstract storytelling,” influenced in part by her early study of photography. Recent work and commissions in the metro Denver area include participation in the Golden Triangle Creative District’s Colorcon mural festival, as well as Babewalls, Streetwise Boulder and Crush Walls. Her work has been exhibited at ReCreative Denver, Dateline Gallery and The Gallery @ The Bus Stop Apartments in Boulder.

About the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro residents support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit www.denverartmuseum.org.

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Image Credits

  • Image 1: Early Rendering, I Invent It, My Hands Draw a Cloud, by Emily Hope Dobkin and Olive Moya.
  • Image 2: Stereotype Snapshots, Emily Hope Dobkin at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 2014. Image composite courtesy of the artist.
  • Image 3: Streetwise (Denver), mural and image by Olive Moya.