Redlands mural honors uranium miners
An unexpected piece of fine art surprises drivers on E 3/4 Road on the Redlands. Painted on the side of an outbuilding, the new mural was commissioned by Joyce Power in honor of her late husband, Frank Power, a well-known and well-loved uranium miner.
“It is something spectacular in an unexpected place,” Power said. It has brought so many people, neighbors and strangers, together to gaze on a scene from the pages of local history, she added.
Power commissioned local muralist Lee Bowerman to do the work because he was a local artist who knew a lot about mining history. Bowerman’s grandfather, father and uncle were miners who passed away from mine-related lung diseases. He was assisted in the project by Kevin Smith. The two worked for nearly two months to complete the painting.
The mural is a three-dimensional multimedia piece that includes the painting of authentic ore carts running along actual rail and landscaping.
The painting depicts Frank Power exiting the porthole with a cart of ore. Bowerman loosely based the scenery on the Sage Mine, which was located in the Uravan area near Long Park.
A closer view of the piece shows a rattlesnake, painted to reflect Frank’s hobby of capturing rattlesnakes, which he sold to another person who milked them for venom. There is also a rabbit, hawk, lizard and actual ore in front of the portal. All of these images are representations of significant parts of Frank Power’s life.
“I am very, very pleased with what he (Bowerman) did,” Power said, adding that she visits the mural at least once a day to remember her husband.
Bowerman feels that this is one of the best pieces he’s ever done.
“It was a dream come true for me, because I got to combine my love of history with my love of art,” he said.
He explained that a mural like this can generate a certain level of pride for the history of the area. He hopes to arouse memories of days gone by for uranium miners and their families.
Bowerman has painted murals all over the west and Grand Junction. He and Smith just completed a new mural within the recently renovated Visitor and Convention Center and one in Hayden High School.
To see the uranium mural, take Broadway to 20 3/4 Road. Follow 20 3/4 Road for two miles. A curve changes the road to E 3/4 Road. The mural is just past the curve at 2067 E 3/4 Road.
Bowerman can be reached via e-mail at http://www.bowermanart.com.