“Kickin It” Boot Murals attract locals and visitors   

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Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency’s “Kickin’ It” boot mural. [Photo credit: Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency]

Wyo4news Staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING — The Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency is excited to announce the completion of the “Kickin’ It” boot mural. Locals and visitors can find this installation on C Street between South Main and Broadway Street.

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The participating artists include:

  • Margaret Jensen – Wheatland, WY  
  • Debora Soule – Rock Springs, WY  
  • Amber Hunt also known as Amber Marie – Rock Springs, WY
  • Chrissy Pruett – Lander, WY
  • Laura Grossnickle – Rock Springs, WY

According to artist Margaret Jensen, Downtown Rock Springs is a “breath of fresh air from busy I-80 and the people are really friendly and nice.” When the opportunity to add art to Downtown was presented, Jensen wanted to contribute. “I chose the Indian Paintbrush because I love painting flowers and using bright colors,” Jensen shared. “I thought the Indian Paintbrush was fitting because it’s the state flower and they’re all over Rock Springs.” She received her art skills from her father, who is also an artist. Jensen added, “Art is important to me because it is a great way to express yourself, release from your worries and create your own world.” She hopes there will be more support for local art because “it enriches and beautifies a community.” Shed added, “When a person supports local art, they usually know the story behind the artist’s creation or know the artist. The art is unique and one of a kind, not mass-produced.”

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Amber Hunt wanted to highlight a local female business owner on her mural. She thought Amanda Schaeperkoetter, owner of The Dugout Collectibles and Games would be a ‘good feature’. Hunt has been drawing since she was very young. “I started to hone my skills by memorizing books on how to draw and practicing a lot,” Hunt revealed. “There were no art classes in any school I went to till high school, then I took a few classes.” Eventually, she received her bachelor’s and ended up with an emphasis in drawing. She began taking anatomy courses as she refined portrait work. She has studied techniques such as the Loomis Method and The O’Reilly Method, which are ways to work on drawing a face by focusing on its planes. “Art is important to me because it became a main mode of communication,” she explained. “I grew up very sheltered and abused, so it became a voice when I had none. “It is now one I use to give voices to other’s stories, to my own, and help myself make sense of the chaos of this world. If you find an artist you love, maybe you cannot purchase from them, but help them on social media to reach someone else who might,” she advised. “This can be through likes, shares, and comments on any platform. Be willing to attend events and be open to the experiences art has to give you. Get together with friends and attend places your favorite artists will be. If you don’t have an artist you support, go find one. We can be great people.”

Artist Debora Soule wanted to make others smile by painting a cow’s face. “I always knew I had to be an artist, maybe I didn’t have the clearest definition, but Art was what made me – me!” Soule revealed. “As I grew up through junior high and high school, I studied on my own, as well as of course taking every art class I could as an elective.” She went to a college known for its art school. Afterward, she continued to be a self-directed learner of whatever interested her at the time. As the director of Community Fine Arts Center, she helps students of all ages understand art. “Currently, I am committed to following what I tell the students – you have to do it every day – you only get better with practice, practice, practice!” she suggested. “I am also studying a few artists – Richard Schmid, Ian Roberts, Brian Rutenberg – and I am finding something in each of their works that attract me, though they each have different styles and color palettes.” She has found through the years that she also “values supporting others in their creative efforts as well. Being honored with the role of director of the Community Fine Arts Center, I have been able to teach art to all ages, help emerging and established artists find venues to exhibit their creative work, and bring new experiences in the arts to our community,” she said. “I feel like I have continued the traditions of those directors before me and hopefully added something more for the next art leaders in our town.” Soule added, “Art has always been a part of my life, I wouldn’t know how to exist without it. Working at the CFAC is the best job in the world for me.” One of Soule’s favorite quotes is “Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country.

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Rock Springs resident Laura Grossnickel painted a prairie scene that includes a bison, the meadowlark and Indian Paintbrush because it represents Wyoming and the state symbols. “The boot scene was definitely a challenge for me and something out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed the challenge,” Grossnickel said. “I finally had to put my paintbrush down as I kept going back to it and making more changes or adding more details. Art is my hobby. I love being creative and always have. Recently, I’ve transitioned more to doing lettering. I’ve created hand-painted signs for various people and organizations and I love doing them.”

Chrissy Pruett holds a B.A. in Fine Art Education from the University of Wyoming. She has several years of experience teaching Art in Rock Springs schools. Aside from teaching art, she is a visual artist that specializes in Art that showcases Wyoming’s beauty. “I feel my style of art embodies what Wyoming is all about and would be an excellent addition to Rock Springs.” Pruett enjoys creating public art that really gives visitors a Wyoming experience and makes our locals proud we can call Wyoming home. “When I saw the idea for the “Kickin’ It” boot mural, I was so excited to apply and be a part of it,” she expressed. “This mural is perfect for my western Wyoming art style, and being a Rock Springs native, I would love to have my art be a part of Downtown.” Pruett has had public art experience in Green River, Wyoming’s Art on the Green competition for several years. She has also painted several murals in both Rock Springs and St. Laurence School in Laramie. She has a mural at Rock Springs High School Desert View Elementary School. She has a large mural in Sage View Care Center in Rock Springs. All of her murals contain western and wildlife imagery as well as Wyoming landscapes.

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