New murals added to Lionshead skate park
Artist Kaitlin Ziesmer brings colorful creatures to concrete walls
The next time you head to the skate park, you’ll be greeted by some new helmet-clad creatures.
First of all, you may be wondering just where the skate park in Lionshead is. The Zeke M. Pierce Skate Park is actually inside the Lionshead parking garage. The open-air design of the parking garage lends itself to be a unique space for ramps, bowls, rails and … murals.
“These concrete walls are a dream to paint on, it’s the perfect canvas,” said artist Kaitlin Ziesmer of the 14-by-12-foot space she had to work with.
Ziesmer is a Denver-based artist who graduated from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. The town of Vail’s Art in Public Places brought Ziesmer to Vail to participate in its public art mural program that began in 2019 with the colorful transformation of the pedestrian entrances at the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures. Since its inception, the program has grown beyond the entrances to the parking structures. From the interior walls near La Cantina inside the Vail Village parking garage to the five ventilation stacks west of Dobson Ice Arena, to this year’s new vibrant murals at the skate park in Lionshead, the natural scenery isn’t the only colorful sight in Vail.
“Although all the mural artists are from Colorado, the similarities end there,” said Molly Eppard, coordinator at Art in Public Places. “By inviting different Colorado artists to enhance some of these public spaces we have the opportunity to diversify the style. Here, the Art in Public Places Board invited a young woman to be a part of the program and it’s always exciting to see what talent is out there and how it’s translated to these otherwise boring concrete walls,” Eppard said.
Ziesmer’s murals are anything but boring. She likes to intentionally bring out the unexpected in her playful characters. On the skate park walls you won’t see typical Rocky Mountain creatures like moose, elk or deer. Instead, you’ll see a zebra and what Ziesmer calls her “Frankenstein” bird.
“It started out like a traditional bird and then I just made it look weird,” Ziesmer said.
The animals are skate park-ready with brightly colored helmets complete with stars for the bird and ear holes for the zebra. She mainly used exterior roll-on paint and spray paint for accents.
It took Ziesmer about three days to complete each mural. Lightning, rain and hail halted her efforts periodically throughout the process.
“It can be a little stop and go. You don’t want to be on the scaffolding when it’s hailing or when there’s lightning,” Ziesmer said.
A prominent mural featuring several of Ziesmer’s playful mashup characters can be seen at the recently opened Rino Art Park in Denver. She was also invited to create one of the select artistically inspired rooms in the much-anticipated Acoma House in close proximity to the Denver Art Museum.
Ziesmer will be returning to Vail at the end of the summer to create another mural along the exterior staircase of the Lionshead parking structure facing the Dobson Ice Arena and the Children’s Garden of Learning. Ziesmer plans on painting lions, but if they are anything like her works at the skate park, expect the unexpected with whimsical and illustrative objects in a very bright colored palette.